A Fork in the Road

A fork in the road

The image of a vegetable garden growing on the White House lawn illustrates more than a change in a single backyard. It illustrates a shifting social landscape across the United States, where food policy is on the front burner when discussing the health of our nation’s people and their environment and economy. The White House garden is recognition that a healthy food system is a critical part of national security.

In this issue of Oregon’s Agricultural Progress, we explore Food in Oregon as a necessary—and delightful—part of life.

We begin with a menu of Oregon’s finest foods—from appetizers to dessert—and uncover the research behind the quintessential Dinner in Oregon. After dinner, we explore Food for Thought, ideas that go beyond the food we see on our plates.

Food is complicated—culturally, politically, and economically. Food can be a celebration in the life of a community or a limiting factor in the life of a hungry child. Food production can be a stimulus to the regional economy or a safety concern for businesses. And, we will learn, nutrition education is no longer a doughnut-topped pyramid.

Food is the handshake between rural and urban communities, the thing most closely shared among all Oregonians. To stir a conversation about food in Oregon, we have launched an exhibit of photographs from our archives that will travel throughout the state in the coming year. And to feed the curiosity of high school students, we’ve developed a Food for Thought website with curriculum ideas based on research and extension at Oregon State University.

Oregon State is a leader in changing the course of American food, stirring the future toward healthy people, healthy economies, and a healthy planet. Join us in this toast to Food in Oregon.