Benton County, in the heart of the Willamette Valley, is a lush fertile valley where over 270 varieties of edible plants flourish. CSA (community supported agriculture) programs, farmer’s markets, and food co-ops all thrive in Benton County, creating a vibrant local food system that many farmers and citizens have spent their lives building. The valley is also one of the very few places in the world that can grow a wide variety of vegetable seeds—including many organic varieties—for the international market. But now industrial agricultural interests have their sights on the valley, seeking to turn it into a breeding ground for their patented seeds, and the chemicals that go with them. At the heart of this farm and food system conflict in the Willamette Valley is the question of who owns the seed, and thus, who controls the landscape of agriculture.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Clinton Lindsay, a 5th-generation farmer and local food advocate from Corvallis, Oregon, who is working with the Benton County Community Rights Coalition to pass a voter referendum that will create a “Food Bill of Rights” in Benton County.
Clinton Lindsey currently works for Greenwillow Grains, an organic grain mill. He also is board president at Ten Rivers Food Web, a non-profit dedicated to enhancing the local food system of the mid-Willamette Valley. Clint is a co-founder and steering committee member of Benton County Community Rights Coalition.