Introducing the folks that have given our Food Web it’s vision
Vanessa Vandomelen, our President, has acted as the Market Manager for the North Plains Farmer’s Market the past four years. Vanessa is active teaching gardening classes while working as a Registered Nurse, a Wound Care Associate and Certified Foot and Nail Specialist. She is an Oregon native who grew up in North Plains, where her first job at age eight was as a strawberry picker in her cousin’s strawberry fields. She also owns Mountaindale Farms where she has grown produce for the past five years. She has participated as a farmer-vendor at the Cannon Beach and North Plains Farmers Market. Vanessa participated in the Ford Institute Leadership Program’s “Effective Organizations” series in Forest Grove in the Spring of 2013 and her most recent accomplishment as a local community leader has been starting a seed swap at the North Plains Community Garden–a project that came out of the FEAST Community Conversation in North Plains, held in March of 2014. Vanessa is a guest columnist for the Gardening section of the Forest Grove News-Times, and she is a member of the Forest Grove Grange.
Amber Wentz, our Treasurer…. Amber is a long-time resident of Forest Grove who has been involved with several social service non-profit organizations. An organic landscape care provider by trade, she also tends a vegetable plot at the Forest Grove Victory Garden annually. A lover of animals and nature, she is a life-long spay and neuter advocate. Her interests also include social justice, local food production and accessibility, frugal living and homesteading skills.
Robin Lindsley is a cofounder of Dairy Creek Community Food Web and has worked to link food systems together in Western Washington County since 2009. She has been a co-founder, editor and writer for The Teacher Paper, a quarterly national magazine for educators. She also co-founded “A Teacher Space,” a nonprofit organization that focuses on teaching and learning for families and teachers in NE Portland. She also helped to start the Forest Grove Community School, a public charter school for students age six to fourteen. She is a former State President of the Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children, the state’s professional organization supporting early childhood educators. Robin frequently speaks and advocates on behalf of young children and their families in local Oregon communities. She served as the President of the Portland chapter of the OAEYC, and as a former public school teacher for ages four to eight, Robin also is the recipient of a Milken Family Foundation Outstanding Educator Award. For five years, Robin served as a member and Moderator (President) of the Governing Board of the First Unitarian Church of Portland and also chaired its Nominating Committee for five years. She attended Ford Institute Leadership Program’s “Effective Organizations” series in Forest Grove in the Spring of 2013
Charlene Murdock and Richard White were born into families of farmers and have always been involved in providing the family and community with home grown produce and animal products from farms. In the late 1980’s, Charlene was offered a position in the gift industry, where she quickly transitioned to the FOOD gift industry. Shortly after forming her own specialty food brokerage, she met another aspiring specialty food broker, Richard White. Together they formed Murdock & White, which just celebrated 25 years as the premier specialty food brokerage in the Pacific Northwest. Charlene and Richard were delegates to the first Terra Madre gathering in 2004 and are long time members of Slow Food and Friends of Family Farmers. They are founding members of the DCCFW, members of the Forest Grove Grange, 20-year members of the National Association of the Specialty Food Trade, past members of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and past participants in American Cheese Society Conferences. They currently serve on the Advisory Board for La Esperanza Farm, a program of Adelante Mujeres, working to educate and empower low-income Latina women and families. Charlene attended the Ford Family Foundation’s Effective Organizations series in April and May of 2013.
Cecilia Chapm is a native Oregonian whose life long interest in growing flowers and vegetables started as a fourth grader. She is a retired elementary teacher who moved to Forest Grove in 2004 with her husband. She now devotes her energies to be of service to our community. This includes taking the disaster CERT training and Forest Grove’s “Citizen’s Police Academy.” She presently works with Friends of Historic Forest Grove and Dairy Creek Food Web.
Ellen Hastay is a life-long gardener with experience as a participant in three community gardens. She currently serves on the Steering Committee for the Forest Grove Community Garden. She oversees the plots at the Maple Street Community Garden, which are dedicated to growing food to donate to the Oregon Food Bank. In the 2013 growing season those plots produced approximately 2000 pounds of produce. In 2012 she received certification as a Master Gardener through Oregon State University Extension Service. Before retiring in 2011, Ellen was the Director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Pacific University for 17 years. In this position she developed and managed programs, grants and activities through which University and community members worked together for the common good. She supervised students and Americorps members within the Center, and managed the Center’s budget. As a founding member of the Dairy Creek Community Food Web, she has worked with the Oregon Food Bank, OSU Extension, and many community organizations in and around Forest Grove to plan and provide gardening and cooking classes, monthly movies on food related issues, and grants to fund DCCFW activities. Ellen attended the Ford Family Foundation’s series on Effective Organizations in April and May of 2013.
Edie Reid grew up in Banks and is the fourth generation to live on the Benefiel family farmstead. She is an avid gardner and enthusiastic orchardist, using organic and permaculture methods. Following her retirement from Banks Elementary in 2010 she completed her BA and and is currently enrolled in the Leadership for Sustainability masters program at Portland State. In 2012 she was trained as an OSU Master Preserver. She and a team of Master Preservers taught the classes for the DCCFW summer series for home canning. She also teaches Seed to Supper classes for the Oregon Food Bank (a beginning gardening class that is sponsored by OSU and OFB). She volunteers with students from Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School in the Dig In program at the OFB westside Learning Gardens. When she is out of the garden she enjoys yoga, ecstatic dance, volunteering at the OFB Blues Festival and performing as a costumed mummer at the Oregon Country Fair in July.
Katie Moss, an Oregon Native and daughter of a Banks High School Graduate, recently purchased a small ranch with her husband in Gaston, where they raise lamb for meat, and pastured chickens for nutrient rich organic eggs. After studying Humanities at Portland State for many years, Katie worked with foster children and their families as a social worker in San Francisco and Portland for 12 years before adopting a foster child as a single mother. Feeding her daughter well has been a big factor in her interest in local foods. Katie got her start with gardening when she participated in Portland’s Growing Gardens Program from 2008 to 2010. After moving to Newberg in 2011, she mentored students at the George Fox Community Garden and joined the Ford Institute Leadership Program, with whom she now serves as a Community Ambassador for Forest Grove cohorts. Katie has sold some of her produce at the Newberg Farmers Market, and she is a recent graduate from the Beginning Urban Farmers Apprenticeship Program, sponsored by OSU and Multnomah County. She is most excited to learn about growing berries and fruit, and most discouraged about voles and bindweed.