07-09-2020  1:45 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon DOJ to Hold Listening Sessions on Institutional Racism; Leaders Wary

DOJ will hold 11 virtual listening sessions for underserved Oregonians.

Portland Black Community Frustrated as Violence Mars Protests

Black leaders condemn violence from small group of mostly-white activists as Rose City Justice suspends nightly marches

Protester Dies After Car Hits Two on Closed Freeway

Summer Taylor, 24, of Seattle died and Taylor and Diaz Love of Portland were injured. The driver, Dawit Kelete has been arrested

Police Union Contract Extended, Bargaining to Continue

Negotiations will resume in January 2021.

NEWS BRIEFS

Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center Announce Artist Fund

The fund will help support artists during COVID crisis and beyond ...

The OHS Museum Reopens Saturday, July 11

The Oregon Historical Society museum will reopen with new hours and new safety protocols ...

Meyer Memorial Trust Announces New Trustee

Amy C. Tykeson of Bend, will oversee management of the 38-year-old Oregon-serving foundation. ...

African American Alliance for Home Ownership Announces New Board Member

AAAH has announced the appointment of Carl Anderson, M.D., a staff physician specializing in occupational medicine with Northwest...

Ploughshares Fund announces over $1 million in Grants to Stop Nuclear Threats

The global security foundation’s board of directors awards grants to 15 organizations working on nuclear weapons issues ...

Police: million lost due to ongoing Portland protests

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Downtown businesses in Portland, Oregon, have sustained about million in damages and lost customers because of violent nightly protests that have brought the city to its knees, authorities said Wednesday.At a police briefing, Deputy Chief Chris Davis said the...

Driver who hit Seattle protesters charged with 3 felonies

SEATTLE (AP) — Prosecutors on Wednesday filed three felony charges against the man who hit two protesters with his car, killing one, while driving on a Seattle freeway that was closed for Black Lives Matter demonstrations.The King County Prosecuting Attorney's office charged Dawit Kelete,...

Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner hurt in jet ski accident

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner sustained serious injuries when he and a passenger on a jet ski collided with a boat on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.According to a police report, Koerner and Cole Coffin were hurt at about 6:30 p.m. Friday when their watercraft...

Missouri football program pushes again for racial justice

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Ryan Walters had just arrived at the University of Missouri to coach safeties for the football program when a series of protests related to racial injustice led to the resignations of the system president and the chancellor of its flagship campus.The student-led movement...

OPINION

Recent Protests Show Need For More Government Collective Bargaining Transparency

Since taxpayers are ultimately responsible for funding government union contract agreements, they should be allowed to monitor the negotiation process ...

The Language of Vote Suppression

A specific kind of narrative framing is used to justify voter suppression methods and to cover up the racism that motivates their use. ...

Letter to the Community From Eckhart Tolle Foundation

The Eckhart Tolle Foundation is donating more than 250,000 dollars to organizations that are fighting racism ...

Editorial From the Publisher: Vote as Your Life Depends on It

The Republican-controlled Senate won’t pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, no matter how hard Oregon’s senators and others work to push for change. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Black Players for Change lead protest at MLS is Back tourney

Now that Major League Soccer has re-started, a group of Black Major League Soccer players is using the moment to call attention to systemic racism across sports and society. Black Players for Change was formerly the Black Players Coalition of MLS, but changed its name this week while joining forces...

Latino group launches M campaign to boost voter turnout

PHOENIX (AP) — A national organization is announcing a million campaign to turn out Hispanic voters in several of this year's battleground states.Mi Familia Vota, based in Phoenix, said it will spend million on get-out-the-vote measures and an additional million on digital and...

MLS returns to action after poignant moment of silence

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Nani called it beautiful and emotional.He wasn't talking about either goal he played a part in during Orlando City's 2-1 victory over Inter Miami on Wednesday night. Nearly 200 players took the field for an 8-minute, 46-second moment of silence to protest racial...

ENTERTAINMENT

Comic hero 'Asterix' plans friendly assault on the New World

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans have long adored things from France, like its bread, cheese and wine. But they've been stubbornly resistant to one of France's biggest imports: “Asterix.”The bite-sized, brawling hero of a series of treasured comic books is as invisible in America as...

Review: In 'The Old Guard,' the comic movie gets an overhaul

For all the painful absences of this summer, it has been a season blessedly bereft of superheroes. No, they’re not all bad. And there is much of the normal rhythms of the movies’ main-event months to be nostalgic for. But one thing I haven’t missed is the unending business of...

With a satirical fictional memoir, Jim Carrey gets real

NEW YORK (AP) — When Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon handed in the book they had toiled on for eight years — a satirical “anti-memoir” about Carrey’s life but with increasingly extreme flights of absurdity — to Sonny Mehta, the late Knopf publisher said he would...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Sheriff: Actress Naya Rivera missing in SoCal lake

LOS ANGLES (AP) — Authorities say former “Glee” star Naya Rivera is missing and being...

25 years on, Srebrenica dead still being identified, buried

SREBRENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — A quarter of a century after they were killed in Europe’s...

Burial traditions clash with coronavirus safety in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The mob of over 150 people who forcefully took Muhammad Yunus’ cadaver...

Mali leader promises court changes in bid to quell protests

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — In a televised midnight speech, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita promised early...

Singapore governing party set to extend power in elections

SINGAPORE (AP) — Singaporeans vote Friday in Southeast Asia’s first election since the coronavirus...

The Latest: Tokyo sees most new virus infections since April

TOKYO — The Japanese capital has confirmed more than 220 new coronavirus infections, exceeding its previous...

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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