We Are What We Eat, which is taking place Crook County Library will provide information on the benefits of locally produced produce and meats

Later this month, people can learn more about local foods and their role in the movement to promote them in homes and schools throughout Oregon.

The Crook County Library is hosting “We Are What We Eat: Connecting Food and Citizenship,” a Conversation Project offered through Oregon Humanities. The organization has spearheaded 49 such programs this year in 29 communities statewide. Topics have included the state of marriage, urban-rural relations, cultural attitudes toward death and aging, and the use and preservation of Oregon’s natural resources.

“They have various presenters who have a program,” said Amber Smith, the library’s volunteer coordinator. “We have hosted five now.”

The local foods discussion will be led by Wendy Willis, a poet, essayist, and national leader in civic engagement and collaborative governance. She also serves as executive director of the Policy Consensus Initiative, a national nonprofit organization at Portland State University devoted to improving democratic governance.

Willis will address Oregon’s traditions in agriculture and fisheries as well as what many state residents think, talk and write about food. She will discuss how the relationship to food production, preparation, and consumption among Oregonians might create deeper connections to their neighbors and a pathway to increased self-sufficiency.

Unlike the other Conversation Projects hosted in Prineville thus far, this one will feature more than just the guest speaker. Prineville Farmers’ Market leaders will be on hand as well.

“We just put up a display at the library about the Farmers’ Market and we are going to have our Farmers’ Market table there,” said chair Kim Kambak. “I am going to have information there about Central Oregon Locavore, which is where a number of the small farmers in Crook county sell their eggs, produce and meats.”

Kambak said she is encouraged to see the local foods program in Prineville, where she believes interest growing.

“Bend primarily has been the focus of the local food movement, so a lot of our local folks have gone over to Bend to learn what it means,” she said. “I am really pleased to have more of an educational presence here in Crook County.”

Leading up to the Conversation Project, Smith has encountered quite a bit of curiosity from patrons who have seen displays advertising the event.

“I think that part of that is the Prineville Farmers’ Market being involved with that and trying to promote local foods,” she said. “I would expect that this one will have quite a few people coming to it.”

“We Are What We Eat: Connecting Food and Citizenship” will take place at the Crook County Library on May 30, at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.

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