My name is Somaly, and I would like to tell you about my Community Planning Workshop (CPW) experience. I am an Afro-Colombian Leader’s Fulbright student in my first year in the Community and Regional Planning Master Program at the University of Oregon. I applied to this program because my professional goal is to implement projects of sustainable development that not only benefit the environment, but also improve the quality of life of people. Furthermore, I want to work in the design and implementation of development programs for neighborhoods, cities, regions, and countries. CPW offers the experience of working in real projects, and I wanted to face real situations and obstacles in graduate school that appear during the implementation of a project.
Now, I am enrolled in CPW, and participating in an exciting project, the “Lane County Year-Round Regional Public Market and Food Hub Market Analysis.” The purpose of the market analysis is to provide the City of Eugene Planning and Development Department and the Lane County Economic Development Division with information to better understand the market potential for a regional public market and food hub that will advance the cause of local food in Lane County.
This project is really fascinating! I chose this project because it is the first step in a longer planning process that not only could boost economic development, but also could encourage social cohesion, employment opportunities, healthy eating habits, environmental education, and sustainable agriculture; values with which I feel affiliated. I am confident this project will allow me learn about the market research process and about public markets and food hubs. Also, it will help me enhance my planning, public speaking, analyzing, and writing skills.
During the project we are going to identify successful case studies of public markets and food hubs across the nation, collect information about food expenditures and shopping preferences in Lane County through a household survey of Eugene and Springfield residents, as well as identify the gaps in the supply and distribution chain for local food in Lane County. We will also work with a Technical Resource Group comprised of people involved with local food to inform the team about the research over the study period.
Working on this project is fascinating, as is the idea of applying the knowledge I learn in my home country. My commitment as a Fulbright student is to go back to Colombia and use my knowledge and learning experience to contribute to the development of my nation. Colombia’s small farmers cope with issues of getting their products from the rural to the urban areas. I hope from working on this project to be able not only to design and execute a market research project about local food in Colombia, but also to develop a food hub and get support from Colombian institutions for its implementation.
Stay tuned if you are hungry for more INFOODMATION about this project!
About the author: Somaly Jaramillo Hurtado currently holds an Afro-colombian Leader’s Fulbright scholarship, and is working toward a Master Degree in Community and Regional Planning, with an emphasis on environmental planning and community development at the University of Oregon. Somaly is an Environmental and Natural Resources Administrator at Universidad Autónoma de Occidente in Cali, Colombia. Her professional experience includes implementing the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, and designing and monitoring hazardous waste environmental management plans.