A Critical Head Start for Pre-Schoolers: Eating Healthy Foods [VIDEO]

Head Start began as an eight-week demonstration project in 1965 to help break the cycle of poverty, providing preschool children of low-income families with a comprehensive program to meet their emotional, social, health, nutritional and psychological needs. Since then it has become the nation’s largest federally funded early child care and education program for children zero to five years old.

Good nutrition has always been a focus of the program, but many of the children in Head Start programs don’t have access to fresh, local foods at home. Discussing this fact a couple of years ago, Dr. Betty Izumi of Portland State University and Dawn Barberis of Mt. Hood Community College’s Head Start program came up with the idea for the Harvest for Healthy Kids project. Read more

Added Value: Direct Marketing for Farmers and Ranchers

The Imperial Stock Ranch, which began in 1871, faces a new and serious challenge to its very survival: how to create new markets for its products to compensate for longstanding existing markets that have declined or shifted overseas. Some bold steps were needed to rethink what to do with the wool from the sheep they raise on their 30,000 acre ranch in Eastern Oregon. Their solution? Direct, value-added marketing to yarn retailers and apparel designers.

Jeanne Carver is following in a long tradition of farmers striving to distinguish their product in the marketplace—first and foremost by its quality, but also through processing, product enhancements, packaging, and suggestions for how consumers can use the product. As you watch the video, note the four key areas where producers focus their efforts in order to achieve success: Read more

The New Family Farmer (VIDEO)

According to the latest 2007 USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service, roughly 4 million family farms have been lost since the 1930’s, though it should be noted that small farms (50 acres in size, or less) have increased about 13% compared to the earlier USDA 2002 census data). As the population of family farmers continues to age, there is also a critical shortage of young farmers to take their place. Michael Paine is a rare breed; he doesn’t come from a farming family, and he’s relatively young. His story is a good example of the unique challenges facing those who wish to take up farming. Read more