Survey results revealed at Zenger Farm dinner

Learn what is in store for this unique, outer East Portland food-driven, educational center in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood …

Checking in the guests at the Community Appreciation Dinner are Zenger Farm Community Engagement Intern Candice Rhodes, and Community Engagement Manager Prairie Hale.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Good, fresh, and wholesome food is at the core of all Zenger Farm does; and, how to better present programs there has been under study for some months.

The results of the extensive survey process was revealed at a “Community Dinner” held on the evening of October 24 in their Urban Grange building.

While Zenger Farm Community Chefs prepared dinner in their commercial kitchen, about 65 supporters and community members filed in and found a seat at tables set up in the main hall.

In the kitchen, Zenger Farm’s Claudia Christensen-Garcia, and Community Chef Paula Hernandez, spend a moment with Executive Director Mike Wenrick.

“This is our opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to many of the people who have been participating in our Strategic Planning Process over the last couple of months,” explained Zenger Farm Executive Director Mike Wenrick.

“We’ve been engaging in listening activities with neighbors, teachers, prescription CSA members, kids, parents, and a lot of the community stakeholders that participate in the Zenger Farm programs,” Wenrick said, “asking what they like, and what they’d like to see more of and less of.

“They helped us by letting us know what we should stop doing, and start doing, and do more of, as we enter the next phase of our program,” Wenrick told East Portland News.

Zenger Farms Volunteer Manager Andrew Hogan serves as a “table host” at the dinner.

That effort resulted in receiving about 200 written surveys and engaging 250 people at assessment sessions, he said. “Everything we’ve heard will be helping us develop a new Strategic Plan,” explained Wenrick.

Themes of the comments received included:

More access opportunity – Most of their programming happens Monday through Friday, during the daytime; the request is for more new programs in the evening and on weekends.

After-school programs – Both parents and teachers ranked having new after-school programs a top priority.

Low-cost access to vegetables – This feedback will lead the organization to continue to find ways through, their “Prescription Vegetable Programs”, to get healthy foods to people who need the most.

“The ‘Prescription Vegetable Program’ is a partnership with Multnomah County Health Department, in which physicians ‘prescribe’ a season’s worth of healthy food to families that are at risk of chronic disease,” explained Wenrick.

Guests serve themselves a freshly-made hot supper from the buffet line.

Alden Frumkin and dad Simon Frumkin tuck into dinner.

After learning more about Zenger Farm’s new Strategic Plan progress, all  present were invited to enjoy the community dinner.

Learn more about Zenger Farm, including their upcoming Winter Camp for kids, Community Chef dinners, and other activities, at their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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