Anyone interested in food insecurity and possible solutions should lend an ear to the latest episode of the “Rural Roots Rising” podcast and radio magazine. The Feeding Our Communities episode features an interview with Corvallis’ own Harry MacCormack, farmer and co-founder of the Corvallis Saturday Market.
From Victory Gardens to Big Box Stores
In the episode, MacCormack shares his unique perspective on the history of food. He recalls growing up during World War II in Upstate New York where Victory Gardens were common and nearly everyone he knew produced food in some way.
“There weren’t any box stores yet. There wasn’t [sic] any freeways yet and of course, it was Eisenhower who brought all that in. And it all changed in a matter of five years.”
He described the rapid transition from the Victory Garden culture to the “big box” culture and shared his insights into some of the consequences of that change.
“Five years later, it was not common at all, because everybody had gotten used to the box store, warehousing and shipping mentality. I think we have two or three generations now that only have that knowledge of how systems can function that know you go to the store and it’s on the shelf.”
“We need to think about the health of our personal and whole ecosystem in terms of the smallest things that really control everything,” he explained. “We’re kind of guests here.”
MacCormack commented on how recent concern over access to food is in part amplified by big box culture.
“The stresses that puts on the food systems are really interesting because we’ve set up this marketing system that is totally reliant on trucking and warehousing. And it’s totally vulnerable because of that”
As the interview unfolds, MacCormack shares more insights from his experience as a farmer founding Sunbow Farm and as a food activist. His resume includes being one of the founders of the Saturday Corvallis Farmers‘ Market, the Local Grains and Beans project, and Oregon Tilth. In addition, he is a writer and taught at Oregon State University.
About Rural Roots Rising
The monthly “Rural Roots Rising” podcast and radio magazine is “for rural Oregonians who are creatively and courageously building stronger and more vibrant communities for a just democracy!”
“Food: it’s quality, access, and the way it is cultivated has always been the center of our communities, and our very survival depends on it,” said Sasha Blankenship, podcast narrator and an organizer with the Rural Organizing Project.
By Samantha Sied