Panel to discuss food, sustainability locally

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Fine Art Center will host the next presentation in the Civic Minds + Creative Hearts series on Thursday.

“Local Food and Local Makers” will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the art center at 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd. The evening of food, drinks and presentations is inspired by the food related themes from the current exhibition What’s For Lunch?

“Attendees will learn from community professionals about the broader landscape of the local food movement and meet farmers who are cultivating a more sustainable land ethic and creating art inspired by this work,” said Rachel Storck, community engagement director, in a press release.

Tickets for the event are $12 for art center members, $15 for the general public, and $5 for SNAP recipients and can be bought online at: Organizers advise purchasing tickets in advance.

Each attendees is encouraged to bring a food or hygiene item donation for the Port Angeles Food Bank. Donations will be collected at the fine arts center as a part of the ‘What’s For Lunch?’ exhibition through May 14.

What’s For Lunch? is an exhibition of fiber and textile art featuring works by members of the Peninsula Fiber Artists. The colorful and food-focused exhibit was largely inspired by Gene White, the founder of the Global Child Nutrition Foundation and internationally recognized advocate for child nutrition.

“Two themes that emerged from the artists’ statements within this exhibit are support for a local food system and celebrating our food champions,” said Christine Loewe, executive director of the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center.

“We are fortunate to live in a community where so many are championing a local food system and are excited to have four of those champions join us for the evening,” she said.

Clea Rome, director of the Clallam County Washington State University Extension office, will give an overview of agriculture in the region and how and why local farmers, along with people in communities all over the United States, are working to build more sustainable localized food systems.

Local farmers Rachel Herring Shyles, Jenson, and Melissa Levenstein will join Clea for a panel discussion and will share how their art is informed by their ties to local land, passion for community connection, and dedication to sustainable food systems.

Attendees will have time for questions, mingling, and exhibit viewing. Additionally, there will be a one-night only pop-up makers market of wares, provisions and art provided by Shyles and Jenson.

“We hope you will walk away inspired to create and with tangible ideas for supporting a more sustainable and fair food culture,” Loewe added.

Snacks will be provided by Carol Clayton of Vegetafull and drinks will be available for purchase from Pacific Pantry.

More about panelists

Rome is both an associate professor in the Community and Economic Development unit of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, as well as a department head of the Clallam County Extension office.

Both the University and the county provide financial support for the director position and the Extension programs.

Much of the work that Clea and her team members in the Extension office are engaged in supports our local food systems.

The Extension office has programs to help in growing food, increasing access to nutritious food, and reducing food waste to name a few.

Shyles is the owner and operator of Wildling Farm, a micro-scale farm tucked along the Elwha River just outside of Olympic National Park.

She is a naturalist, farmer, baker, and maker who specializes in providing locally sourced provisions to the Port Angeles community through door-step delivery, pay-as-you-go farm share subscriptions, and the Port Angeles Farmers Market.

Jenson is the owner/operator of SisterLand Farms and has been farming and consulting for over a decade. They co-founded the local Food Not Bombs chapter, and developed the Clallam Growers’ Collective.

In addition to food systems work, Jenson has taught art and art history for four years as part of the Community Education program at Peninsula College and with high school students through Upward Bound.

Levenstein is the owner/farmer of Hidden Penny Farm. She spends her days in her boots watering, weeding, planting, and tending her small farm nestled in the foothills.

She provides a diverse array of fruits and vegetables to her community through the pay what you can farm stand located on the farm, as well as at the farmers market.

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