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FCSJ Students have participated in the following Food Assessment projects:
In 2009, the Oregon Food Bank began its program of Community Food Assessments, partnered with the Americorps RARE program. These year-long assessments were organized by RARE volunteers across several Oregon counties. Each volunteer worked with local communities in Oregon in order to start a participatory process to “tell the story” of the region’s food system based on interviews, focus groups, and community meetings (Oregon Food Bank n.d.: 1). The end goal is a report and a process that empowers members of the community to take action to work in their regional food system.
When discussion of the Benton County Community Food Assessment began, an analysis of Oregon State University (OSU) in the assessment was considered essential by several organizers. The university is a huge economic and political institution in the county, for example representing approximately 23% of employment in Benton County in 2012 (City of Corvallis 2012). OSU is Oregon’s land grant university making agriculture and food production an important field of research and teaching. In 2010, graduate students Amanda Green and Robert Asinjo in OSU’s Department of Applied Anthropology were enlisted as researcher assistants to work alongside Benton County’s RARE volunteer, and their work has continued since. In the following pages, they tell you about the process and results of our their 3-year engagement (2010-2013) in assessments, research and advocacy within OSU’s food system.