12-11-2019  10:30 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Puget Soundkeeper and Waste Action Project Send Notice of Intent to Sue to Ardagh Glass

Violations listed include illegal discharges into the Duwamish River, failure to collect stormwater samples and failure to install required treatment systems

San Francisco Aims to Rein in Tests of Tech Ideas on Streets

Entrepreneurs would not be allowed to test their products in San Francisco's public space unless the tech in question is declared a "net public good."

Portland-area Residents May Vote on Funding for Homeless

There may be a measure on the November 2020 ballot to fund likely hundreds of millions of dollars for increased social services

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon Humane Society Celebrates the Adoption of the 11,000th Pet of 2019

Max, a two-year-old Labrador/Weimaraner mix, is going to a new home with the Dunlap family of Damascus ...

EPA Approves Funding for Oregon and Washington to Improve Drinking Water, Wastewater Infrastructure

States estimate $190 million for wastewater, $35 million for drinking water projects in Oregon, and $120 million for...

Conservation Breakthrough for Endangered Butterfly

The Oregon Zoo's breeding success provides new hope in an effort to save Oregon silverspots ...

Meet 80 Local Authors at OHS 52nd Holiday Cheer Book Sale and Signing

This free Oregon Historical Society event will be held this Sunday, December 8 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. ...

Need for Blood Doesn’t Stop for Holidays – Donors Needed

Those who come to give through Dec. 18 will receive a Amazon.com Gift Card ...

Push to accelerate mustang captures draws fire in Congress

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Two House committee chairmen are trying to put the brakes on money for a new Trump administration proposal to accelerate the capture of 130,000 wild horses across the West over the next 10 years.Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nevada, whose high-desert state is home to about half the...

Fewer kids report sex abuse in US juvenile detention centers

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A new federal report has found the number of kids who say they have been sexually victimized in juvenile detention centers has dropped across the U.S. compared with past years. But remarkably high rates of sexual abuse persist in 12 facilities stretching from Oregon to...

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team.The top-ranked Tigers also have the SEC’s coach of the year in Ed Orgeron and the newcomer of the year in freshman cornerback Derek...

OPINION

Will You Answer the Call for Moral Revival?

In embracing and expanding the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Revs. Barber and Theoharis have asked Presidential candidates to consider a debate that focuses exclusively on poverty ...

What I’m Thankful For This Season

Ray Curry gives thanks for a human right that shaped our country throughout the 20th century and that made Thanksgiving possible for so many Americans who, like him, didn’t get here by way of the Mayflower ...

Congressional Black Caucus Members Visit U.S.-Mexico Border: “Mistreatment of Black Immigrants is Another ‘Stain on America’”

Members said they witnessed first-hand the deplorable treatment and plight of Black immigrants ...

Portland, I'm Ready

Last month I had the privilege to stand with hundreds of supporters and announce my intention to run for re-election ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Fears mount that New Jersey shooting was anti-Semitic attack

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Fears that a deadly shooting at a Jewish market in Jersey City was an anti-Semitic attack mounted on Wednesday as authorities recounted how a man and woman deliberately pulled up to the place in a stolen rental van with at least one rifle and got out firing.A day...

Judge blocks enforcement of LA law that takes aim at NRA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday blocked enforcement of a Los Angeles law requiring businesses that want city contracts to disclose whether they have ties to the National Rifle Association.The NRA’s request for a preliminary injunction was granted by U.S. District Judge...

Trump signs order targeting college anti-Semitism

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday targeting what his administration describes as a growing problem with anti-Semitic harassment on college campuses.Trump has sought to closely align himself with Israel, a move that appeals to many evangelical...

ENTERTAINMENT

Eastwood on 'Richard Jewell,' criticism and finding stories

LOS ANGELES (AP) — For his film "Richard Jewell," Clint Eastwood takes aim at the media and federal investigators for what he sees as a rush to judgment after the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing. The 89-year-old director calls security guard Richard Jewell's story "a great American tragedy,"...

Ocasio-Cortez says Fox News airs 'unmitigated racism'

NEW YORK (AP) — A day after Fox News' Tucker Carlson aired a segment describing her congressional district as “filled with garbage,” U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized the network on Wednesday for airing “unmitigated racism" with no accountability.She tweeted...

'Parasite,' 'Bombshell' get a boost in SAG nominations

NEW YORK (AP) — Scarlett Johansson received two individual nominations, “Parasite” scored a best ensemble nod and both “The Irishman” and “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" solidified their Oscar favorite status in nominations announced Wednesday for the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Weinstein reaches tentative M deal with accusers

NEW YORK (AP) — A tentative million settlement revealed Wednesday to end nearly every sexual misconduct...

AP Source: Angels, Anthony Rendon reach 5M, 7-year deal

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Third baseman Anthony Rendon and the Los Angeles Angels agreed to a 5 million,...

More Americans are dying at home rather than in hospitals

For the first time since the early 1900s, more Americans are dying at home rather than in hospitals, a trend that...

Salvadoran woman marks 1 year in sanctuary near White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — Yoga. Meditation. English. These are some of the skills Rosa Gutiérrez López...

Protesters vent their anger as UN climate talks stutter

MADRID (AP) — With less than 72 hours left to reach a deal on key measures in the fight against global...

Chile: Debris believed from missing plane carrying 38 found

PUNTA ARENAS, Chile (AP) — Debris believed to be from a military transport plane carrying 38 people that...

McMenamins
Aurora Saldivarnew America Media / Coachella Unincorporated

COACHELLA, Calif. — Inspired by the mass quantities of food Americans throw away, Christy Porter decided to tackle the hunger problem in the Coachella Valley over ten years ago.

"(With) 27 percent field waste and 30 percent plate waste," says Porter, "there is no reason for anyone to be hungry in our country."

Taking matters into her own hands, Porter founded Hidden Harvest in 2001, a non-profit that "rescues" produce from eastern Coachella Valley fields and distributes them to over 60 agencies serving low-income residents throughout the region.

The Coachella Valley, a strip of inland desert in southern California that extends 45 miles from the San Bernardino Mountains of Riverside County to the Salton Sea, is the fifth largest agriculture-producing region in the United States. It is primarily known as a date-producing region – roughly 95 percent of all the nation's dates originate in the Coachella Valley – but residents here are quick to point out that the fertile valley produces nearly every type of vegetable and fruit imaginable.

Despite the bounty of food grown in the Coachella Valley, however, not even three-quarters of the produce ultimately winds up on people's dinner plates. Produce is regularly left to wither away and die, when a grower determines that the price of harvesting their product outweighs their ability to sell it for a profit.

The image of food literally rotting on the vine is especially ironic in a place like the east Coachella Valley, where poverty and malnutrition are highest in those communities that are home to the very farm workers who harvest the crops.

Porter's fight against hunger took root in one such community, Mecca, where she began by building edible gardens at Saul Martinez Elementary School. She was struck by a question posed to her by a father at the school: Why is so much of the food left to rot in the fields where I work?

"When I came here, we didn't need policy as much as we needed food," she says. "Kids can't eat red tape while you're waiting for policy to take effect. People are still hungry."

Local farmers notify Hidden Harvest when there is product left in the fields that would not make it into grocery stores due to cosmetic blemishes or cost to harvest. The non-profit quickly hires crews to harvest the remaining produce.

"Our biggest problem is not that the produce, it's out there. It's getting the farmers to remember to call us before they plow it up," explains Porter, who believes tax incentives for participating farmers would be helpful. "It is big business for them to hold a crop in the field, even for one day."

"Produce is getting harder and harder to come by," says Porter. "Since 2008, the demand for food in food banks has gone up 60 percent. We were probably serving 20 to 25 thousand people back then, but farmers started selling more and more and more of their products so our access to products went down about 50 percent."

It is a constant struggle for Hidden Harvest to access produce when supply is down, but the need within the community is still prevalent.

"I find it hard to get enough produce to feed the beast," says Porter.

"We haven't had any help from federal or state dollars. It's not that we are opposed to it, it's just we haven't had any. We are kind of small, so we are trying to get money by grants or by public contribution, but that's a lot of work. That's what I do all the time. I'm raising money day and night."

This fall, Porter plans to light a fire and challenge California farmers with a program called Just One Row.

"We are going to try to persuade our farmers to give us just one row of each of their crops," said Porter. "We know that one row, one row, of carrots is ten thousand pounds of carrots. That is a lot of carrots. We could do a lot with that."

In the quest to end domestic hunger, Hidden Harvest employs about six hundred local farm workers during the course of the year, to go onto farms and harvest the crops that would otherwise be bulldozed or left to rot. The organization feeds, educates, employs, and inspires hope within the community year round, often using Porter's own photography -- she was an accomplished photojournalist in her previous career -- as a catalyst.

"How can you photograph hunger?" asks Porter. "Part of our job is to convince people that it is out there."

The author, Aurora Saldivar, is an eastern Coachella Valley native and a reporter for Coachella Unincorporated, a hyper local and youth-led news organization founded by New America Media to shed light on health and community related issues in Coachella and the surrounding unincorporated communities of the east valley.  The project is supported by a grant from The California Endowment.

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