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Returning grain to the lower-Willamette Valley : Prospects and barriersfor local food security Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_projects/cf95jc130

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  • A critical link is missing between food production and food consumption. This gap can be overcome by encouraging the production of staple food crops and emphasizing regional and community consumption of locally produced food. In order to re-establish local food security in the Willamette Valley, it is imperative that essential infrastructure be re-established in support of local food production and processing. To increase local food security, production of food crops within agricultural communities must increase, and grain infrastructure must be built to efficiently process locally grown grain. Using the case of the lower-Willamette Valley, this research seeks to answer three questions: 1) how has the agricultural history of grain crops and grass-seed in the lower-Willamette Valley changed since the European immigration, and does this history support a transition to grain crops; 2) what are the barriers to transitioning to grain crops in support of increased food security in this region; and 3) how does grain production, processing and infrastructure fit into the region's long-term food security and sustainability goals. These questions are answered by conducting a literature review to reveal the rise and fall of both grain and grass-seed in the region, and additionally using remotely sensed images to visually expound on the changed agricultural landscape of the lower-Willamette Valley for three consecutive decades. Interviews and focus groups with regional grass-seed and grain farmers illuminate numerous barriers to transitioning to grain crops. Lack of grain infrastructure was noted as a major barrier to increasing food security through local food production. In order to illustrate the connection between grain infrastructure and food security, ArcGIS is used to map out grain infrastructure within the study area. Lastly, the imagery of the changing landscape and the grain infrastructure map are examined in conjunction with community food security and sustainability goals in the cities of Eugene and Corvallis, Oregon to assist these communities in reaching their food security and sustainability goals. This research determines that re-energizing the Willamette Valley grain-market by way of the local food security and community sustainability efforts is only effective if done collaboratively between farmers, local businesses, city and county leadership and the community because of the innate difference between the national-international market where grass-seed is prevalent and the local-regional market of grain.
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