David Minor’s Organic Legacy Carries On

David Matthew Minor died five years ago this month in a bicycle-car collision at the corner of 13th and Willamette. His “ghost bike” memorial still stands in front of FedEx/Kinkos: the white bike that his mother Susan keeps surrounded by flowers, and the sign peeking out of the petunias “Start Seeing Everyone” reminding drivers to be aware of pedestrians and cyclists.

Although many of us pass by that corner regularly, what you may not know is the week David died his parents established a memorial fund in his memory with the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition (WFFC) to honor his passions for growing food and promoting environmental sustainability and social justice. To date, $20,400 has been raised to honor David (from 137 individual donors and two fundraising events). The memorial fund has supported several community programs that are increasing access to locally grown foods for families in need.

Minor loved gardening and growing food. He was also deeply concerned about our society’s conspicuous consumption, environmental and political injustices and the lack of resources serving the underprivileged, the oppressed and the hungry. He challenged others to be mindful of the less fortunate.

As we enter the summer season of local bounty — leafy greens, tomatoes and zucchini, berries, melons and sweet corn — we encourage you to give some thought to just who has access to this gloriously fresh food.

Those of us who know where to look are rewarded. But local farm fresh foods are still far from the default choice for most. And it’s not always about affordability. Not everyone has the means or the opportunity to get to a farm stand or farmers market. If the food outlets they frequent don’t carry local products, single parents on tight budgets, households dependent on food stamps and seniors with limited income and mobility may never have the option.

WFFC prides itself on connecting farmers and consumers in Lane County. Local Food for All encompasses our collaborative efforts in making fresh, local foods accessible to more members of our community. The David Minor Memorial Fund has provided broad support for this work.

To date, David’s fund has:

• Purchased vegetable starts and soil amendments for Victory Gardens for All, the volunteer pay-it-forward service effort to assist families from all walks of life in planting gardens.

• Supported community gardens growing vegetables for our food bank (FOOD for Lane County Gardens Program).

• Subsidized 25 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares (weekly boxes of veggies) for households not able to pay full price, through the That’s My Farmer Low Income Fund.

• Offered low-income Latino families opportunity and instruction to grow their own organic food in three community garden plots run by Huerto de la Familia.

• Provided support to farmers establishing a produce stand in the parking lot of a Dari Mart in an underserved Springfield neighborhood, and outreach and incentive coupons to low-income residents as part of the Healthy Corner Stores Initiative (Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth, Dari Mart and WFFC).

• Bought soil amendments and other garden supplies for the Courthouse Garden project, in which UO students grew food for the Relief Nursery of Lane County.

• Helped sponsor the 2011 UO conference on “Food Justice: Community, Equity, Sustainability.”

At WFFC, we refer to Local Food for All as David Minor’s “organic legacy.” Organic because it continues to grow and has taken on a life of its own. Organic because it is nourishing those in need. Minor’s ideals live on and continue to inspire us to “Start Seeing Everyone” in our community.

One Monday, June 17, Ninkasi at 272 Van Buren is hosting Pints for a Cause to benefit WFFC’s David Minor Memorial Fund. Ninkasi will gift 25 percent of the day’s proceeds. Come by anytime between noon and 9 pm. Live music by Skinner City String Band from 6 to 8 pm. Call 341-1216 for more information. — Lynne Fessenden

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