Katrina Van DisExecutive Director

Katrina grew up on a cherry orchard in Eastern Oregon and as a kid sold cherries on the side of the road to help fund her college tuition. Having grown up on a farm and experiencing first hand the juxtaposition between farming and having to meet government needs regarding farm labor she was inspired to combine her love of agriculture with her professional and academic life.  She is a driven professional having received a BS in Environmental Science from Washington State University, an MS in Community Development and Applied Economics from the University of Vermont, and a Certificate in Ecological Economic from the Gund Institute. Katrina has devoted her professional and personal life to strengthening Central Oregon communities through food access and local-food support.

Katrina was a founding member of the Central Oregon Food Policy Council (now HDFFA) and co-authored Growing a Local Food Policy Council in Central Oregon (2012) with past board member, Dana Martin. She was a board member for five years before becoming the Executive Director in 2018.  That year she co-published a report entitled, Communicating economic impact assessment: How research results influence decision-maker attitudes toward the local food sector.  This publication focused on the results of the 2016 Economic Impact of Local Food Producers in Central Oregon which found that for every $1 spent buying food from a local farmer, $0.76 stays in local economy versus $0.28 when buying from a chain grocery store.  Katrina’s innovative work of developing a public/private model for developing a sustainable food system has been showcased at the national level in this webinar A regional approach to value chain coordination.

To recognize her work in the field of food system and the impact on the Central Oregon community, Katrina was nominated in 2018 for Woman of the Year – Community Hero. Her passion to make her community a better place to live by connecting with farmers and food is contagious. When not at work with her amazing co-workers, she can be found playing in the dirt in her neighborhood garden she built or somewhere in the woods finding solace with her husband and dog, Jake.

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