The USDA is providing a $366,150 grant to Washington County nonprofits Centro Cultural and Working Theory Farm.

COURTESY PHOTO: WORKING THEORY FARM, CAPERS RUMPH - Shirley Lopez-Tomas (left) and other employees harvest green beans at Working Theory Farm last spring.Oregon's two U.S. senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, say they have secured a $366,150 grant for Washington County nonprofits Centro Cultural and Working Theory Farm to partner to increase food production and distribution.

Working Theory Farm, which gives youth opportunities to work on the farm through partnerships with Washington County's juvenile justice program and local shelters, will use the money in part to expand programs that provide "consistent spaces to give and receive positive and constructive feedback" for local teenagers, according to a summary of the grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The farm aims to increase production in order to provide fresh food year-round to Centro Cultural, which operates a market-style food bank in Cornelius, by purchasing some infrastructure and equipment upgrades, such as row covers for winter vegetables and new coops to raise chickens.

"Centro is thrilled to build a partnership with the USDA to continue our mission of serving working people in Oregon with quality services," Centro Cultural executive director Maria Rubio said. "This award from the USDA will give us the ability to meaningfully increase access to culturally specific organic foods in our Centro Mercado food pantry year-round."

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