Community Capital in Tillamook County: An OSU Extension Road Tour

By Lauren Johnson, Member Services Coordinator

How do you weigh the vibrancy of a community’s food system? OSU Extension’s Community Food Systems Working Group, facilitated by Lauren Gwin, toured Tillamook County using WealthWork’s 8 capitals framework as a lens and tried to do just that. We cruised around touring projects, meeting people, tasting the bounty, and discussing all of the different forms of wealth we were experiencing.

We had the joy of attending Food Roots’ beautiful dedication ceremony of their new hoop-houses (built capital that cultivates intellectual capital in beginning farmers). The hoop houses are dedicated to Food Roots’ founder, Shelly Bowe (someone who was incredibly talented at building social capital and investing in individual capital). At the Garibaldi docks, we took a Shop at the Docks tour and learned about Oregon’s incredible wild fisheries (natural capital) and all of the skill and method it takes to sustainably harvest them (cultural capital). We heard from our host, OSU Extension’s Dusti Linnell, about her work on Food Secure Tillamook County, a project that asked what true food security would look like. At Pitch and Plow Farms, we petted baby sheep, considered a very fine kale crop, and discussed marketing strategies. We shopped around Food Roots’ FarmTable storefront and took home two brimming crates of local vegetables, herbs, meat, cheese, milk, and bread (it takes a lot of intellectual, social, natural, built, and cultural capital to produce such beautiful food).

WealthWorks’ 8 capitals framework helped me see beyond the incredible challenges of building a community food system and to appreciate all of the richness and vitality that Tillamook County holds. Getting to experience such a vibrant food system alongside such thoughtful people was one highlight of my year with OCFSN.