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Market Of Choice Advocates For Dry Farming Through Collaboration

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Oregon’s independent, family-owned Market of Choice is partnering with the Dry Farming Institute to advocate for the expansion of dry farming acreage. 

As part of this collaboration, Market of Choice is the first major organization to donate to the Dry Farming Institute’s efforts to empower growers to thrive with less water. This work includes seed-to-table collaborative market development for dry farmers. 

This alliance reflects Market of Choice’s dedication to supporting sustainable agriculture and local farmers while promoting a more resilient food system.

Dry farming involves cultivating crops with little to no irrigation, typically during a dry season in regions that receive at least 20 inches of annual rainfall. Dry farmers try to select a site with deep soil and good water-holding characteristics and use a suite of practices to conserve soil moisture for crop growth. Gaining traction as a viable solution to challenges posed by water scarcity and climate change, dry farming is a low-input, place-based approach to producing crops within the constraints of a region’s climate.

As part of this pledge, Market of Choice will help farmers navigate the path from growing produce to bringing it to market. This includes assistance in supply chain, labeling, delivery methods and distribution channel logistics.

“Dry Farming is a critical component of sustainable agriculture, playing an important role in addressing global challenges related to water scarcity, climate change and sustainable food production,” said John Boyle, chief merchandising and marketing officer for Market of Choice. 

“At Market of Choice, we are dedicated to supporting local growers and advancing sustainable food systems. By partnering with the Dry Farming Institute, we aim to not only provide customers with top-quality local produce but also contribute to a more environmentally conscious future.”

According to Amy Garrett, co-director at the Dry Farming Institute, connecting dry farmers to markets, improving accessibility to research and resources on dry farming and building out the infrastructure to make dry farming a viable market opportunity for growers are essential objectives of the Dry Farming Institute. 

“Market of Choice is the first retailer to reach out to the Dry Farming Institute in an effort to connect with dry farmers and offer pathways to make it easier for small- and mid-sized growers to get their product to market,” Garrett said.

The Dry Farming Institute, in partnership with the Oregon State University Dry Farming Program, offers growers access to a Dry Farming Suitability Map to help them understand if their site is suitable for dry farming in Oregon. 

The Dry Farming Institute also collaborates with Oregon State University and seed stewards to provide information on crop varieties adapted to dry farming in various regions throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

About Market of Choice

Founded in 1979, Market of Choice is Oregon’s largest family-owned, independent grocer with 11 stores located throughout the state. 

Market of Choice has grown into a large grocery retailer with stores in Ashland, Bend, Corvallis, Eugene, Medford and the Portland-metro area.

Read more independent store news from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Sommer Stockton

Web Editor

Sommer joined The Shelby Report in January 2022 after graduating from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA with a B.A. and M.A. in Communications and Media Studies. Sommer is excited to learn about the grocery industry and share her findings with The Shelby Report's readers!

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