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Food Roots was founded by a small handful of community members in 2006, but one woman truly led the way for its birth. Shelly Bowe, a woman with big visions for a healthy and sustainable Tillamook County food system, worked tirelessly from Food Roots’ inception in 2006 to 2015 on this visioning.
Shelly and supporters of our vision built a wide-ranging network of people, projects, and resources to realize the thriving, growing, and vibrant community food system we have today. Food Roots has helped build linkages among farmers, processors, educators, agencies, nonprofits, farmers markets, schools, youth groups, local government and anyone else interested in making our local food economy stronger. Food Roots also works in partnership with Oregon Food Bank to create venues where our regional stakeholders can discuss big-picture issues related to North Coast food and agriculture, and talk collaboratively about how to address challenges and take advantage of opportunities. We work as a catalyst for positive change in our regional food system.
We are located in Tillamook County, a geographically large rural county on the northwest coast of Oregon with just over 25,000 residents. This has historically been a region with natural resource-based economies of timber, fisheries, and dairy production. Now, seasonal tourism is a large part of Tillamook County’s economy, and most of the living wage jobs are gone. Yet the county is still rich in natural resources; agriculture and food production holds promise for our future.
Our aim is to foster a resilient food system in which everyone in Tillamook County will be able to eat local food daily, and through which residents will better understand their role in the local food system, have the ability to grow their own food when possible, and have the resources to eat well. We believe such a food system will lead to a healthier community, a stronger economy, and increased wellbeing throughout our communities.
Individual Development Account Administrator
Farm to School
Board of Directors
Erica Johnson - Board Chair
Melissa Gehrkins - Vice Chair
Melissa Carlson Swanson - Treasurer
Julia Giel - Secretary