Coos Bay, OR – Pacific Power Foundation has awarded the Southwestern Oregon Community College Foundation a $7,500 grant to support the development of a new instructional food production garden complex.

The garden on the Coos Bay campus is an essential learning component of the College’s new Agroecology career pathway program. Funds also will purchase equipment for students’ use in the garden.

“We are thrilled to get this grant from the Pacific Power Foundation. The garden is a lab for Agroecology students to learn about growing food and food systems. Students also will collaborate with the College’s culinary program, learning how sustainable food production links with business and the food industry,” Assistant Professor Maria Farinacci said.

Agroecology is an interdisciplinary study of the ecology of the entire food system, encompassing ecological, economic, and social dimensions. Teaching focuses on the holistic approach to agriculture that considers not only crop production and yield, but the sustainability of the ecosystem and community. The Agroecology curriculum includes business training for students who want to work in small businesses and farming. Classes and short-term training are designed to assist the region’s farmers and land managers in gaining knowledge and techniques, including enrichment classes for community members.

“The Pacific Power Foundation is honored to support the new Agroecology program and the opportunities it will provide to students. The program aligns well with the foundation’s mission to support the growth and vitality of the communities that we serve.,” said Sam Carter, Pacific Power’s regional business manager.

This instructional garden demonstrates to students how to increase access to healthy food, reduce food insecurity and promote self-sufficiency. Students will gain hands-on experience in sustainable and regenerative practices, and how to create community gardens, or start their own businesses.

“Pacific Power Foundation stepped up quickly to partner with us on this project and turn a wish into reality,” said Elise Hamner, executive director of SWOCC Foundation. “We appreciate their commitment to excellence in education and ensuring faculty and students learn together in a high-quality outdoor classroom.”

For more information about the Agroecology program, go to www.socc.edu/pathways or contact Maria Farinacci at maria.farinacci@socc.edu.


Pictured: Sam Carter, Pacific Power Regional Business Manager; Maria Farinacci, Agroecology Instructor; Dr. Patty Scott, President of Southwestern


About the Pacific Power Foundation

The Pacific Power Foundation is one of the largest utility-endowed foundations in the United States. The foundation was created in 1988 by PacifiCorp, an electric utility serving 1.8 million customers in six Western states as Pacific Power (Oregon, Washington and California) and Rocky Mountain Power (Utah, Wyoming and Idaho). The foundation’s mission, through charitable investments, is to support the growth and vitality of the communities served by Pacific Power. For more information, visit www.pacificpower.net/foundation


About the Southwestern Oregon Community College Foundation

Southwestern Oregon Community College Foundation exists to benefit the College and provide adequate resources to improve every student socially, culturally, economically, and educationally. For more information, visit www.socc.edu/foundation.


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