On the Road

On the Road with AOR: Food for Thought

Join AOR on October 18 as we head to Gresham to visit business recognized nationally and locally for their innovative work in the food waste/recovery/rescue space.

WHEN: Thursday, October 18, 2018, 8:30am - 4:30pm

WHERE: Birch Community Services, Organically Grown Company, Gresham's Net Zero WWTP, and Sunrise Center/Rockwood Rising. Lunch presentation from the Gresham-Barlow School District on their school composting programs.
Departure and Return to Metro, at 600 NE Grand Ave., Portland


Our first stop takes us to Birch Community Services, 2017 AOR Nonprofit Recycler of the Year. BCS works to provide a community where people can be responsible and accountable for meeting their basic needs, and to equip them with tools to overcome financial difficulty. The organization has steadily grown to become one of the largest food-distribution programs in Oregon, and has been within the top 25 organizations in the Portland Business Journal’s annual list of “Top 100 Portland Non-Profits” and has never received a penny in government funds.

We’ll then head over to visit AOR Member Organically Grown Company whose mission is to promote health through organic agriculture as a leading sustainable organization. In 2017, 96% of the waste OGC generated avoided landfills, with over 1,074 tons going to recycling or compost; 100% of their energy use is either renewable or is offset by Renewable Energy Credits; and employees made 2,986 SMART Commute trips, totaling 30+k miles, saving 27+k lbs of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. And they were awarded the first-ever Western Region Sustainable Private/Small Fleet Award at the 2017 Green Transportation Summit.

Next, we’ll walk across the street to the Gresham;s Net Zero Wastewater Treatment Plant. Using Fats, oils and grease trucked to the plant from local food service establishments, the plant now produces more energy than it uses, saving the city an estimated $500,000 a year in electricity costs. 

Lunch will be at Gresham City Hall and catered by Tortilleria Y Tienda De Leon's. After our great food and a bit of networking, we’ll hear from City of Gresham Waste Reduction Outreach Specialist Meghan Borato and Alan Crapser from the Gresham Barlow School District about the district’s very successful composting programs

Our last tour will take us over to the Sunrise Center at Rockwood Rising. The mission of the Rockwood Rising project, which broke ground earlier this year, is to create an economic engine to alleviate symptoms of poverty in Rockwood. As part of the complex, a market hall will offer local food vendors affordable commercial space, access to a commercial kitchen and support services. 

The Rockwood Rising community hub project was awarded a Materials Management Grant from the DEQ, to help support local food makers while ensuring only the best food makes its way into people's hands. The food-movement project was awarded $50,000 for flash freezers and a dehydrator which will help pave the way for surplus food ingredients generated throughout Gresham to be utilized by the up-and-coming food makers who will be housed at the Rockwood Rising Market Hall.

We’ll end the day at an (optional) no-host networking gathering at the Spirit of 77 around the corner from Metro.