Katy Nesbitt
The La Grande Observer

ENTERPRISE — A recent round of small grants from the Oregon Food Bank will help Wallowa County groups take on projects that improve food accessibility, affordability, nutrition and education.

In early March, the Wallowa County Food System Council hosted a Food Education Agriculture Solutions Together event, a community organizing workshop developed by the Oregon Food Bank. The day-long event was held in Enterprise.

Through its involvement with this winter’s workshop, the Wallowa County Food System Council was awarded $4,000 from the food bank to be distributed to Wallowa County organizations. From a slate of applications, the council awarded mini grants to Winding Waters Clinic, Prairie Mountain School, Wallowa County Farmers Market, Enterprise Head Start and the Magic Garden.

To help families on a budget, staff from Winding Waters Clinic in Enterprise will teach classes on affordable, healthy eating and cooking. Meg Bowen, the clinic’s quality assurance director, said the hope is to encourage people to get out of the center aisles of the grocery store, where the processed food is displayed, and get them to shop for fresh food like produce, meat, eggs and dairy along the store’s perimeter.

The Wallowa County Food System Council is an ad hoc group of people representing health care, hunger and food access, nutrition, economic development, faith-based organizations, schools, farmers, ranchers, food product manufacturers and processors, and interested citizens.

Bowen said one of the clinic’s classes will teach how to make nine meals with a single chicken and another will show college students how to eat healthily with only a hot pot and a microwave.

Bowen said the knowledge of how to achieve “healthy, affordable cooking is really needed (in Wallowa County).”

The Prairie Mountain School in Joseph offers classes in traditional crafts such as blacksmithing, woodworking and weaving. Ashley Tackett said the school had its first round of classes in March and April, and the summer and fall curriculums are being developed.

“We are working with locals to share heritage trades and preservation,” Tackett said.