Rootstock, a new resource for students, faculty and staff of the College of Forestry, opened on January 11, 2022. Located on the first floor of the Peavy Forest Science Center on the campus of Oregon State University, Rootstock is a community space providing food and resources to those in need.
“OSU is already doing a wonderful job of addressing issues of food insecurity and the OSU Human Services Resource Center provides great resources and programs for students in need,” said Jessica Fitzmorris, outreach and event manager at the College of Forestry. “We are not trying to duplicate their efforts, but rather work with them to provide additional resources, education, and experiences for College of Forestry students to meet immediate needs.”
Food insecurity remains a significant problem in Oregon and among OSU students. According to research by Mark Edwards, professor of Sociology and Director of OPAL (OSU Policy Analysis Laboratory) at the School of Public Policy, 24% of OSU students on the Corvallis campus are estimated to be food insecure. Though there is not specific food insecurity data related to College of Forestry students, 34% of College of Forestry students have high financial need compared to 28% of OSU’s population. College of Forestry students also have the 4th highest financial need of OSU Colleges.
After former College of Forestry dean Anthony Davis’ staff attended an event highlighting food insecurity faced by Forestry students, a seed was planted for the idea of Rootstock. With the opening of the new Peavy Forest Science Center building, Fitzmorris saw the opportunity to house a food pantry in the event kitchen. Rootstock also includes a drop off space on the 2nd floor of Peavy where people can donate fresh food from their gardens. College of Forestry event organizers are also encouraged to use to-go containers to save leftover food to be distributed later to students.
Other College of Forestry staff, including Madison Dudley, the curriculum and accreditation coordinator for the department of forestry engineering and resources management and Terralyn Vandetta, director of computing forestry resources, joined Fitzmorris to brainstorm what kind of products could be stocked in the pantry. Students will find food for meals, snacks, condiments, as well as menstrual products, and cleaning supplies. They will also receive information about programs available to them through the OSU Human Services Resource Center, including SNAP benefits and textbook loaning programs.
The food pantry will be open on Tuesdays from 1:00-3:30, with other times available by appointment. To donate non-perishable food items (not expired), garden produce, eggs from your chickens, toiletry items, household cleaning supplies, or cash, contact Jessica Fitzmorris (email@example.com). Volunteers are also needed during pantry hours.
Students can follow the Twitter accounts @eatfreeosu and @cof_rootstock for announcements about event leftovers. More information can be found within the Rootstock website, including educational events and community resources.