Oregon-based nonprofits such as the Xerces Society, Sauvie Island Center, Ecotrust and Portland Farmers Market among Recipients
Fostering positive change in rural and urban communities, on family farms and for the environment, Organic Valley Family of Farms, America's largest farmer-owned, organic cooperative and one of the nation's leading organic brands, today announced it donated more than $261,000 in cash and food to charitable organizations on the west coast last year, a key region for the Cooperative.
Organic Valley's $261,000 in cash and food contributions went to 108 nonprofits spanning the west coast, including educational institutions and other similar organizations in the local communities and regions of its farmer-owners. The Cooperative strives to support organizations that are champions in one or more of the following areas: family farming, rural communities, organic research and education, humane animal treatment, environmental education and preservation, and child wellness.
"Our giving programs are an extension of our cooperative ideals. We know that when we give to great organic causes and to local communities, we get back tenfold. We consider every dollar given an effective way of supporting change for good," said Theresa Marquez, chief marketing executive at Organic Valley.
Across the nation, Organic Valley donated a total of more than $2.2 million to charitable organizations in 2008. Of the Cooperative's 1,332 farmers-owners in 32 states and one Canadian province, 91 are located in the western United States. Of its $527.8 million in 2008 annual sales, more than $116 million, over 22 percent, was generated on the west coast.
Organic Valley's 2008 gifts in Oregon coast include
- $15,000 to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation to educate organic growers about the role native bees play in crop pollination and to develop curriculum and a grower toolkit on farming for native pollinators and beneficial bug populations.
- $10,000 to Sauvie Island Center to support the development of four core teaching modules used to introduce elementary school children to farming: Soil Investigations, Plant Parts Investigations, Wildlife and the Food Chain, and Grow Lunch.
- $10,000 to Ecotrust's Food and Farms program to support their work to improve public understanding of agriculture and the challenges it faces, increase the market share of locally grown food, and share the abundance of our region with eaters from all walks of life.
- $10,000 to Portland Farmers Market to support their six free festivals that celebrate seasonal foods.
In addition, Organic Valley provided nearly $65,000 in food to shelters and food banks on the west coast, with Birch Community Services in Portland, Ore., Senior Gleaners in Sacramento, Calif., and Food Lifeline in Shoreline, Wash., among the largest recipients.
"Organic Valley was there in the early days to help us turn a great idea - introducing inner city youth to farms, the food they grow, and the landscape in which they exist—into a stable organization serving over 600 kids this year," said Anna Goldrich, executive director of Sauvie Island Center.
"There's been a lot of talk about declining pollinator bee populations and organic farmers have been the first to step forward to embrace ways to improve their farms for native pollinators, but they need training," said Scott Black, executive director of the Xerces Society. "With this funding from Organic Valley, we can develop free training materials and a toolkit for educating organic farmers everywhere."
Organic Valley Family of Farms: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,332 farmers in 32 states and one Canadian province, and achieved $527 million in 2008 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie Family of Farms label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.coop and the cooperative’s farmer website, www.farmers.coop. Organic Valley is also on Twitter, www.twitter.com/organicvalley and Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/Organic-Valley/20674850824.