Gorge Grown Food Biz Incubator spring classes begin May 28

Local food and farm nonprofit Gorge Grown Food Network continues to provide training and education to aspiring food entrepreneurs with their spring workshop lineup.

The workshops are part of GGFN’s ongoing Food Biz Incubator program, which aims to connect fledgling food enterprises with existing resources here in the Gorge community.

The 2014 spring workshop series includes Food and Farm Law 101 on May 28 and Food Safety for Farmers and Value-Added Producers on June 11. Both classes will be in Hood River and will be instructed by local attorney Steve Seymour and local consultant Lisa Spicka, respectively.

More information about the workshops and how to register can be found at GGFN’s events calendar on their website: gorgegrown.com. Seating is limited, so GGFN is requiring pre-registration.

“There is a lot of underutilized business expertise in our community,” says GGFN Executive Director Michelle McGrath. “There also happens to be an abundance of Gorge folks eager to launch food and farm start-ups. GGFN wants to connect the experts with the start-ups for continued success of both groups. It’s all part of a greater self-sufficiency goal for the Gorge.”

GGFN’s Food Biz Incubator program collaborates with public and private resource providers throughout the Gorge area to deliver a diverse range of training, education and support for new food businesses. For example, one of GGFN’s core partners, WSU Extension, is heavily involved in supporting efforts to promote value-added agriculture development in the region.

“WSU Extension has a lot of educational resources that our community can benefit from. Partners like Gorge Grown help us get the word out that we are here as a resource and excited to help, “says Todd Murray, director of both Skamania and Klickitat WSU Extension.

WSU Extension is offering a workshop in Lyle, Wash., on June 3 entitled “Ready, Set, Launch a Business!” This course will be an overview of the business start-up process. Information and registration for this workshop is also available at GGFN’s events calendar on gorgegrown.com.

GGFN currently receives funding from Meyer Memorial Trust to operate their Food Biz Incubator program.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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