A relationship dating back nearly 20 years has evolved into a partnership that will help increase healthy eating awareness in the community, state and nation.
As part of a $5 million gift to the College of Public Health and Human Sciences (CPHHS) from Bob and Charlee Moore of Bob’s Red Mill to further nutrition education, research and outreach, CPHHS’ Extension Family and Community Health specialist Renee Carr has been named the Moore Family Center endowed outreach coordinator.
She will work in partnership with Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health Endowed Director Emily Ho.
“The mission of the Moore Family Center is to link research to application in communities, and as my background is much stronger in research, I really felt the need for a strong partner who has community relationships and long history and experience in community-based work in outreach,” Emily says. “With Renee’s background and passion for nutrition education and whole grains, it was a great fit.”
Renee, who serves on multiple statewide nutrition committees and manages the SNAP-ED program for low-income youth and families (Portland POWER-UP Program), will begin her new role immediately.
“This position with the Moore Family Center increases our capacity to do outreach and enhance some of the projects we are currently working on but haven’t been able to fully take on,” Renee says. “For example, in our work with myplate.gov – making half of your grains whole grains – we’ll be able to teach youth ways to cook whole grains. Youth will also have a hands-on experience seeing whole grains up close and feeling their texture with samples donated by Bob’s Red Mill and the Moore Family Center.”
Renee and her team will begin implementing whole grain messaging with 20 K-8 schools in the Portland/Metro area in January. This whole grains pilot will later be shared through the statewide and national Extension system.
“We’re hitting the ground running in terms of getting some programs started immediately to make an impact in this school year,” Emily says.
“A lot of work is being done around fruit and vegetables by OSU Extension and Extension nationwide, and we’d like to add whole grain messaging as well,” Renee says. “Especially with dietary guidelines having specific recommendations on whole grains now, we believe this is a great opportunity for whole grain education.”
Because CPHHS’ Extension and Public Health Practice has been in every county in Oregon for more than 100 years, this new messaging platform will have far-reaching results.
“Having this network through the CPHHS Extension literally extends the university into every county in the state,” Renee says. “It’s amazing that anyone in any county – and even at the state and national level – has access to the expertise of faculty for nutrition education, materials, etc.”
“Extension is our ability to be the people’s university,” Emily adds. “Through our nutrition outreach, we want to empower individuals, families and communities to live healthier.”
The endowment will also benefit future nutrition educators – creating internship opportunities for students at Oregon State.
“We have three prongs at the Moore Family Center – education, research and outreach, and I think this is a great opportunity to have all three highlighted within the scope of what Renee is doing, especially as we’re becoming an accredited college of public health,” Emily says.
This partnership not only aligns with the college’s mission of ensuring lifelong health and well-being for all, but also Bob Moore’s vision of empowering people to eat healthy with whole grains.
This is a vision Renee knows well. She began her career in 1992 as an Oregon State Nutrition Education Program volunteer – and soon after as coordinator.
“Bob Moore was trying cooking classes for the first time in his original store and asked our OSU Nutrition volunteers to teach a class on ‘Grains in Soups,’” she says. “Bob generously bought all of the ingredients for the soup class and donated all class proceeds to our OSU volunteer program.”
Now, more than 20 years later, as Renee sits in her office planning for her new position and reading Bob Moore’s book “People Before Profit” – she notices something she can hardly believe.
Where she sits is in the same building where Bob Moore decided to re-open his business after a fire had burned down his mill – 5444B SE International Way in Portland.
“It keeps me motivated every single day,” she says. “I know that because of Bob and Charlee Moore, a new seed was planted for all of the wonderful outreach and research today that’s changing people’s lives with the messaging of whole grains.”