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Feb-19-2006 19:31printcomments

Op-Ed- This Week, Perrydale Celebrates Agriculture

Special Op-Ed

Perrydale Food Drive 2005 Photo By: Tim King
Perrydale Food Drive 2005 Photo By: Tim King

(Perrydale) - Some rural Oregon communities are pockets of resistance to negative change. They may be wired with the latest computer systems and up to date on many trends, but along the way they never dropped the bar in their living standards. The end results are driven, highly respectful youth with a work ethic only born away from the buzz of the big city, and the sustained cultivation of food products that go on to feed the millions.

For the last three years, I have covered ag-related events at the Perrydale School, all more or less the design of Ag Teacher Kirk Hutchinson. Under his encouraging direction, the students band together each year and grow, gather and deliver agricultural products to impoverished communities statewide. They work hard and deliver it by the truckload. Tiny Perrydale orchestrates fundraisers to help poor people in Portland, what does that say about the vitality of a small, Oregon farming community?

Each time it occurs to me that if other places I visited had the genuine spirit of kindness and generosity apparent in Perrydale students, they would all be stronger in their ultimate quest for success. It also occurs to me that agriculture is the mid-valley's number-one cash product, and all of the interesting aspects are greatly overlooked as an industry in today`s media. You shouldn`t have to pick up the Farmer`s Weekly to know more about it.

This week a whole series of events are planned at the Perrydale School including the Perrydale `Ag Olympics". It all gets underway Tuesday, according to Kirk Hutchinson, `Kids get to do things like milk chugging, grapefruit curlings, pig kissing and haystacking."

And you know what is really neat? These are all activities that kids in the historic Perrydale area probably did over a hundred years ago.

So, even if Perrydale nights involve Play Stations and IPODS and wireless Internet, it also is a community that reminds people how things used to be, and then it quietly shows the rest of Oregon how you can indeed have the best of both worlds.

For more information on Perrydale schools, visit their Web site at


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