Meet Taylor West:
Taylor has a BS in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon and received a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the eCornell T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Taylor has a variety of volunteer and leadership experience and has worked as the Undergraduate Coordinator of the UO Environmental Studies Program. Talk to Taylor about her love of food, nutrition, or hip-hop! This is her second year of service with RARE.
Community and Organization:
Marion and Polk counties are located in the mid-Willamette Valley, famous for its abundance of natural resources and rich history of agriculture, timber, and tourism. For millennia the Willamette Valley served as the fertile homeland of the Kalapuya tribe, which nurtured a landscape that allowed diverse plant and animal populations to thrive through the early 1800’s. Today, Marion County covers roughly 1,200 square miles, produces 254 different crops on over 2,500 farms and ranks number one out of all 36 Oregon counties in the total value of agricultural products. Despite this, there are serious barriers perpetuating disparities in access to safe, healthy, and culturally appropriate food. The Food Share collects and distributes food to a network of more than 100 partner-agencies via meal sites, food pantries, foster homes, low-income day care centers, shelters, and senior housing sites.
The RARE participant, Taylor West, will serve as Community Food System Coordinator at the Marion‐Polk Food Share. As coordinator, she’ll work on two main projects: a Community Food Sovereignty Assessment (CFSA) in collaboration with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and a community‐based project in Woodburn. The CFSA will focus on tribal history and food sovereignty and will involve community meetings, interviews, and data collection. Taylor will guide the CFSA process and facilitate meetings, conduct interviews, collect/analyze data, and write reports. She will also develop a leadership team of community stakeholders to conduct an evaluation of food access/pantries in Woodburn and present a report with recommendations on improvements to the Woodburn building owned by MPFS.