About a week and half ago our Partner Programs Coordinator, Laura Titzer represented Northwest Harvest at the Washington Food Coalition's Annual Conference in Wenatchee. According to the conference website attendees will have "the opportunity to develop new collaborations, share information about tools and resources, hear about new and innovative programs and services, and network with others who share in their commitment to alleviate hunger."
This year the conference was held at the Wenatchee Convention Center. I began the conference by attending one of the Wednesday tours. My choice was the Leavenworth Tour which included seeing one of our partners, Community Cupboard, and then sight-seeing downtown Leavenworth. Having never been to Leavenworth, it was quite the experience. Our group’s mission was to buy fudge and pretzels. We succeeded marvelously, but how could we not when the group was comprised of Sabrina from Food Resources; Paige from WFC; Rick from White Center; and Jenn and myself from NWH.
Thursday started the conference. I attended a food justice workshop that stressed food justice and “good food” were terms that are defined by individual communities and will mean different things for different people depending on the circumstances and context. Next, I went to a workshop that reviewed different client data collection software that partners are using across the state. While not the most exhilarating topic, I found it helpful to know what types of programs our partners are using to collect client data. The workshop highlighted Ken Craig’s program, U-District Food Bank’s program, and a program developed by FISH of Pierce County.
Thursday ended with a workshop on cultural competence that can be summed up with a great definition that was provided to us: “To be culturally competent doesn’t mean that you are an authority in the values and beliefs of every culture. What it means is that you hold a deep respect for cultural differences and are eager to learn, and willing to accept, that there are many ways of viewing the world.” You can view an interesting video here about cultural differences.
Friday capped the event with an interesting keynote discussing the connections between summer meals and learning. My final workshop was a presentation by Oregon Food Bank on their FEAST program for community food organizing.
The conference was filled with great conversation with partner programs and new contacts. Always worth the trip!