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A Vision For Growing Our Local Food Economy, Part II: Exploring Mixed Land Use for the Food Industry

Recorded on: November 20, 2015

Air Date: November 23, 2015

Eugene’s City Council will soon consider a proposal to expand the urban growth boundary near Clear Lake Road in West Eugene. The proposed zoning changes are part of the Envision Eugene land use update, which has job growth as a central objective. The City has worked to identify economic development focus areas where our community can build upon regional strengths. One of those focus areas is food and beverage production, processing, and distribution.

Earlier this month, City Club began a discussion of the local food economy with a focus on burgeoning economic opportunities to grow our local food economy. For food businesses to prosper, they need land on which to site their facilities and regulations that facilitate success. The second discussion on this topic explores the local economic relationship between growing, processing, and distributing foods.

Panelists will discuss current thinking on the part of the City Planning and Development Department on planning and zoning in the context of the seven pillars of Envision Eugene. They will describe what local governments and individuals can do to meet the challenges and foster opportunities to grow food manufacturing businesses. They will offer their opinions on incentives that may be needed to encourage food producers such as a dairy, a creamery, a USDA meat processor, a small cannery, or a grain miller.

According to some estimates, investing in the Lane County food economy could generate as much as $300 million in direct and indirect sales and create 4,478 jobs. At issue is how Eugene can balance the long-range economic, environmental, and social goals of the people who live and work in West Eugene.

Terri Harding leads the city’s work on Envision Eugene. Since joining Eugene’s Planning Department in 2006, she has managed projects from infill compatibility to flexible zoning for employment, and looks forward to adoption of the Envision Eugene Urban Growth Boundary next year. Harding earned her Master of Arts in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon. She is a Certified Planner through the American Institute of Certified Planners and a member of the Board of Directors for the Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Shawn Donnille is the Vice President and a co-owner of Mountain Rose Herbs, a leading supplier of certified organic herbs, spices, teas, and herbal products and hash both retail and bulk distribution and retail divisions. The company has 13 farms throughout the United States with nearly 200 full-time employees at three principal facilities in Eugene. The company is considered an industry leader in sustainable business practices and offers sustainability consultation to businesses, local and state governments, and non-profit organizations.

Jason Lafferty, is the CEO of SnoTemp Cold Storage, which encompasses over 500,000 square feet of temperature controlled warehouse space in Eugene and Albany.  SnoTemp was founded by his grandfather, Paul Lafferty, in 1957 as Eugene Freezing and Storage.  Jason is dedicated to the world of food; growing, harvesting, preserving, and eating.  He’s served on the board of World Food Logistics Organization and the Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance.  Currently, he serves as on the board of Eugene Chamber of Commerce.

Melissa Fery has been with OSU Extension Service Small Farms program since 2005, serving small-scale farms in mid-Willamettte Valley counties in crop and livestock production.  As part of her work she  supports farmers and ranchers as they explore agritourism enterprises as a means to diversify income streams and build rural economy.  Her work includes coordinating the Oregon Agritourism Summits in 2012 and 2013 which led to the formation of a statewide Oregon Agritourism Network.

copyright, 2015 KLCC


Born and raised in Eugene, Anni started at KLCC in 2000 as a reporter and co-host of Northwest Passage. After graduating from the University of Oregon, Anni moved to New York City. She worked in education for several years before returning to her true love, journalism. Anni co-founded and co-hosted Dailysonic, a narrative-based news podcast. She interned at WNYC's On The Media, then becoming WNYC's assistant producer of Morning Edition.
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