Oregon’s Market of Choice Invests in a More Resilient Local Food Economy in the Face of Climate Change

Market of Choice and the Dry Farming Institute Partner to Champion Dry Farming Practices

EUGENE, Ore. — In a groundbreaking move, 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 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 strategic alliance reflects Market of Choice’s dedication to supporting sustainable agriculture and local farmers while promoting a more resilient food system.

Dry farming, which has been practiced for millennia, 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 then utilize 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 and can yield more flavorful and long-storing produce.

Market of Choice is committed to supporting growth and interest in dry farming, and buying produce from local dry farmers. 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,” says 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.”

Dry farming strategies vary in different climates and soils. 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. Driven by the joy of and an admiration for Oregon food and its makers, Market of Choice has grown into a thriving grocery retailer with nearly 1,400 dedicated employees. With stores in Ashland, Bend, Corvallis, Eugene, Medford, and the Portland-metro area, Market of Choice has developed deep, meaningful relationships with farmers, ranchers, fisherfolk, and food and beverage producers across Oregon and is committed to fostering a vibrant local food economy. For more information, visit www.marketofchoice.com. Stay connected with Market of Choice on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest.

About Dry Farming Institute

Headquartered in Western Oregon, the Dry Farming Institute supports growers’ exploration of dry farming and other water resilient agricultural projects through collaborative projects, education and outreach. Founded in 2019, The Dry Farming Institute promotes resilience through stewardship of water, soil and seeds and is focused on providing tailored technical service support and seed-to-table dry farming market development. Dry Farming Institute collaborates with Market of Choice, Culinary Breeding Network and Organically Grown Company to support farmers and providers of flavorful dry farmed produce. For more information, visit www.dryfarming.org or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram.