About Genuine Wallowa County
Support Local Artists and CraftspeopleThe goals of Genuine Wallowa County (GWC) are to:
- Expand the marketplace for Wallowa County and Joseph band Nez Perce-descendant makers, including value-added food producers, artists, musicians, writers, and other craftspeople.
- PAY THEM! GWC products are purchased from the people who make them, not consigned or taken for free in exchange for “exposure.”
- Encourage past visitors to the county to revisit their favorite makers and share the bounty of Wallowa County with friends and family.
- Give visitors, lovers of handmade items, and locals alike a one-stop shopping experience for popular Wallowa County items.
- Be as socially responsible, eco-friendly, and inclusive as possible.
Wallowa County Chieftain/La Grande Observer March 2020
ExplOregon: The Backstories live videocast from August 2019 (forward to 4:13)
La Grande Observer/Baker City Herald April 2019 (scroll down to pages 7 and 8)
GWC Supports the Community
Genuine Wallowa County will make annual donations to the Wallowa Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation and the Nez Perce Wallowa Homeland.
GWC and the Environment
Genuine Wallowa County mitigates its environmental impact by using recycled packaging, such as Geami Greenwrap and EcoEnclose labels with recyclable backing, and enrolling in the Pacific Power Blue Sky renewable energy program.
While working for the regional economic development district, founder Kristy Athens learned of a branding idea that originated in 2007. The name “Genuine Wallowa County” and its logo (designed by local graphic designer Joan Gilbert) were suggested by a Rural Development Action Team that worked with a group of locals to consider ways to stimulate the economy. There was enthusiasm for the idea, but not enough bandwidth within local nonprofits to support the brand, and it remained a recommendation in a report. Kristy received permission from available local stakeholders in 2018 to take over management of the brand for this website.Founder Kristy Athens
Kristy had been coming to Wallowa County for nearly 15 years, drawn by both the landscape and the amazing, creative people who inhabit it, before moving here in 2013. She has an M.S. in Food Systems and Society from Marylhurst University and is the author of Get Your Pitchfork On!: The Real Dirt on Country Living. She works in economic development and served on the Wallowa County Farmers Market board. In her spare time (ha ha!) she hikes, makes collage art, and plays fiddle and bass.
GWC values diversity and inclusivity of all kinds, including age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, race, religion, or veteran status.