Fruit Loop receives ODA grant

The Hood River County Fruit Loop has received a $25,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA).

The Fruit Loop grant was one of 55 funded out of 263 applications for portions of $2.9 million earmarked for assisting specialty crop producers throughout the state.

The grants were awarded by the ODA in an attempt to provide financial assistance to as many producers as possible, focusing on collaborative projects that will bring early and meaningful results, according to the ODA. The U.S. Department of Agriculture made the funds available to Oregon and other states for specialty crop assistance.

According to Fruit Loop Marketing Director Kaye White, "We are very excited about the opportunity to expand our efforts to promote education and an understanding of Oregon agriculture that this grant provides. Last year, our media efforts yielded over $100,000 worth of exposure in nine color feature articles, four color articles and 18 miscellaneous articles which reached over two million readers, not including a four-page feature article in Sunset Magazine.

The extensive media generated by the Fruit Loop provides high visibility to agriculture on a state-wide basis, according to White.

"It strengthens the positive image of Oregon agriculture by providing an entertaining and educational farm experience where visitors can achieve an appreciation for, develop loyalty to Oregon agriculture, and return home a more informed consumer.

"Our Fruit Loop farms are on the front line of consumer education. The events we produce are designed to foster an understanding of farm life, culture and heritage."

The ODA Grant funds will enable Fruit Loop to produce a larger, full color Fruit Loop map, including an expanded event section with photographs. Distribution will double from 50,000 copies to 100,000. With the grant, Fruit Loop will be also able to develop and promote a series of behind-the-scenes, educational, agricultural tours.

"Economic impact will be increased by developing travel incentives designed to increase length of visitor stays and frequency of visits to the farms," White said. "By forging partnerships between our farms and our local business community, we will cross-promote each other by creating weekend travel packages that include stops along the Fruit Loop."

The grant will also enable Fruit Loop farms to distribute coupons offering discounted lodging at area hotels and motels, and will pay for increased signage including additional crop identification signs and highway signs. The signs focus on Hood River County as the largest pear growing region in Oregon.

The grant will also fund newly-created Fruit Loop signs, created and placed at participating Fruit Loop farms.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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