Andrea Malmberg and Oregon Rural Action
Andrea became involved with Oregon Rural Action in 2008 after relocating her family’s sustainable cattle ranch from Wyoming to La Grande, Oregon, and joined the Oregon Voice governing committee in 2009.
Oregon Rural’s mission is to build “strong communities by organizing citizens to promote social justice, agricultural and economic sustainability, and stewardship of the region's land, air and water.” With a background in natural resources and consensus building, Andrea was a natural fit to help lead the organization through a period of expansion during her tenure as Executive Director from 2008-2010.
In the past few years, the organization has seen success both internally and externally, and Andrea credits the organization’s growing diversity and acceptance of new perspectives with helping it push significant policy at the local and national levels. Last year, ORA members helped amend the federal Food Modernization Act, and brought Senator Merkley on board to speak on the Senate floor about the need for food safety and how local food can be part of the solution. Andrea explains, “Our most stellar success is that the organization is an instigator of the grassroots.”
Andrea sees Oregon Voice as a vehicle for connections between socially-responsible organizations and individuals. It takes ORA members over five hours to drive to the capitol for lobby days, so coalition work with Oregon Voice and other groups helps them keep their members informed about policy issues when they can’t be there in person.
She’s now working full time on her ranch, but she’s continued her leadership in a volunteer capacity, particularly focused on the areas of financial management and coalition-building. In her work with Oregon Voice, Malmberg says that she’s, “amazed at the level of sophistication of the governing committee and Executive Director, I’m learning a lot, and now I can come back to Eastern Oregon and transfer this knowledge that others have.”
As for the urban/rural divide, she doesn’t feel it. “There’s a stereotype that the western part of the state doesn’t care about the eastern part, but that’s not what I’ve witnessed at all—we are so supported. This is a collaboration that will really benefit us.”