Our Mission

We envision a secure, sustainable, and inclusive food system as one in which our farms and food businesses are both ecologically and economically viable, our agricultural lands are supporting a much larger percentage of Lane County’s food needs, and all members of our community have access to locally grown and raised foods. We believe that a strong local food system contributes to the integral health of our entire community and we work to facilitate greater understanding of the social, economic, and environmental impacts of our food choices.

Board of Directors

Rachel Doty
President
Supply Manager, Meridian Trading Co

Originally an East Coast urban dweller, where she was raised to appreciate hard work and community service, Rachel has made the Pacific NW her home for nearly 20 years, 15 of which have been immersed in the local food scene in Eugene, OR. Rachel’s interest in food systems stems from her love of cooking and eating, and her anthropological studies of the ways in which people interact with their environments and with plants. Rachel has played many roles in the local food system, including farmer, processor, cook, buyer, salesperson, importer, and supply chain manager.

A former board member for Lane County Farmers Market and current board member of the American Herbal Products Association, Rachel also volunteers with the Master Food Preservers of Cottage Grove, teaching classes in canning and other methods of food preservation for the home cook and gardener. Rachel is excited to be working with WFFC to improve access to local foods in our community.

Faye Sofranko
Vice President & Secretary
Farm Educator at Friends of Zenger Farm

She brings deep roots and experienced entrepreneurship to the many community-focused roles she’s played along her journey toward decolonized food systems, including the launch of the Local Artisan Collective in St. Petersburg, Florida, to encourage local small businesses to cross-promote each other.

Raised in St. Petersburg, she called the city home until moving to Eugene in 2022. During her time in St. Pete, she explored culturally-diverse foods and blended that curiosity with her passion for canning and farming – bringing both to the community to connect people and places for the greater good.

Faye earned multiple Best of the Bay Awards in the Tampa Bay area, as well as national press, upon founding and operating The Urban Canning Co. The brick-and-mortar location sold her jams, pickles, beer mustards, and ferments and offered space to share her love of good food and education about natural food preservation. Today, Faye focuses on her love for teaching, using her collective experience to make tangible change in her community.

Nick Meltzer
Treasurer
Transportation Programs Manager at Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments (OCWCOG).

I grew up on a farm in Maine, where my parents were part of the first back to the land movement in the 70s. They grew and raised all the food we ate when I was a kid, and it wasn't until much later in life that I realized that isn't particularly normal. After college I lived in Vermont and quickly got hooked on the abundant availability of local food. Around the same time I got into baking and have been teaching myself about bread and grain for the last 15 or so years. As my wife and I have created a life in Eugene, we've been slowly teaching ourselves how to grow, preserve and cook all of the wonderful food available here in Oregon (to the point where she sometimes calls me a prepper and I remind her the correct term is urban homesteader). The lessons we've learned and perspective we've gained is what I look forward to sharing with the larger WFFC community. Other than that, I love riding bikes, baking bread, and sharing home cooked meals with friends.
 
Graham Kroese
Board Member
Evening Kitchen Supervisor at FOOD For Lane County

Graham grew up in the Willamette Valley in a home abundant with food grown and produced locally. For more than 30 years, Graham has worked in positions that produce, prepare and distribute food. Beginning with farm work and growing food, Graham has worked all over the food world as a cook, chef, farm hand, teacher, and numerous other food centered roles.

Currently, Graham focuses on rescuing food from being wasted and getting food to the folks who need it the most in his position as Evening Kitchen Supervisor at FOOD For Lane County. You can find him at FOOD For Lane County working with volunteers to rescue food, leading cooking demos in the community, or advocating for food security from the local to global level.
 

Staff

Genevieve Schaack MPA, NPM
Executive Director

When I moved to Lane County from Chicago in 2002, the only farm I’d ever visited was part of the city zoo. While dairy goats remained as much a mystery to me as zebra did into my early 20s, the city’s socio-economic landscape inspired a deep desire to support others. One of the ways that came most naturally to me was through food. While I may never shake my nostalgic fondness for iceberg lettuce, increasing access to the bountiful variety of Oregon farmland is something that I am thrilled to nurture through mutually beneficial and ecologically sustainable relationships between local producers and eaters. 

As relevant to this work as my formal experience in the nonprofit sector and education may be, so is the time I spent slinging hash in diners and for Food Not Bombs. I love taking the time to explore new foods and recipes, sharing them with friends, family, and the community at large. The last few years have made such experiences all the more precious- it is a critical time to re-connect and rebuild healthy communities everywhere. I am so excited to play a part in such efforts, bringing together my personal and professional passions and the chance to grow along with WFFC!

 

Patrick Newson
Farm to School Procurement Hub Consultant

Patrick grew up in Pleasant Hill, and there has rarely been a year in the past twenty where he wasn't doing some sort of farm or food project. After nearly a decade working in viticulture and wine distribution, Patrick now works on a fruit and nut orchard and is also pursuing berry farming and cider-making along with teaching, writing, and community organizing. As the leader of our Farm to School Procurement Hub work, he is eager to help children get better access to healthy, local food.

 
Saoirse Scott (/sear-sha/)
Outreach and Event Coordinator

I grew up on a small farm nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina where we raised our own cows, chickens, produce, and goats. Through my work with Willamette Farm and Food Coalition and in my role as Market Director for the Whiteaker Community Market, I've had the distinct delight of reconnecting with small farmers and the communities they support.

I’ve always been interested in what brings people together, ignites joy in them, and adds meaning to their lives. WFFC, like Farmers Markets, accomplishes this by investing in our local food economy, nurturing families, and reminding folks of the importance of being connected to the land, seasons, and food. I’m extremely excited to continue working with the WFFC team to sustain the vibrant tradition of Fill Your Pantry while strengthening our local communities. 

In my free time, you can find me at the bouldering gym, adventuring outside, doing garden and yard work, or working on one of my many half-finished home and art projects.
 

Hannah English
Programs Assistant

“I consider myself a lucky one. Growing up in a community surrounded by failing food systems, my family never went without fresh produce because of my Granny’s garden.” Hailing from the rural South, Hannah grew up alongside industrial agriculture, where farmers produce large quantities of a single product, then sell it to companies for processing and distribution worldwide. “It was tough, watching our grocery stores and small businesses shut down or get bought out. The irony is, we were an agricultural community full of farmers! So where was the food?” Each summer, Hannah and her sister would spend most of their time with Granny; they learned to garden, shell peas, crack pecans, cook, can, process corn, freeze what needed to be frozen. “Granny taught us 2 life lessons: 1) Don’t you dare waste a thing, and 2) If you want to do something, you better teach yourself how to do it. That woman had grit.”

When Hannah first moved to Lane County, she thought she’d be here for 4 months. “I came to study birds for the summer. I’m still here, 5 years later, because of the food. I’d never seen a food system like this one in the Willamette Valley! Multiple small-scale farmers working sustainably and responsibly, growing diverse crops and trying to keep it in the community. There’s so much hope, so much potential for great food systems to flourish here. I’m beyond grateful to finally be a part of that network.” Hannah hopes to expand secure food systems to rural communities across Lane County and beyond, focusing her attention on fresh, local produce.

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Contact Us


Willamette Farm and Food Coalition
info@willamettefarmandfood.org

541-658-0715
P.O. Box 41672
Eugene, OR 97404

 
© Willamette Farm and Food Coalition 2023