The Oregon Community Food Systems Network (OCFSN) is a collaboration of 53 nonprofit organizations and allies dedicated to strengthening local and regional food systems to deliver better economic, social, health and environmental outcomes across the state.
All Oregonians thrive with healthy affordable foods from an environmentally and economically resilient regional food system.
OCFSN has also adopted the UCSAREP definition of a sustainable community food system (see below for the full definition).
The Oregon Community Food Systems Network brings people and organizations together to broaden understanding of issues, build relationships and trust, develop common purpose, and create collective capacity to realize our shared vision.
Oregon Community Food System Network acknowledges that our food system is built and maintained on a foundation of oppression & systemic racism of Native peoples, people of color, and immigrants. Through a coordinated statewide network, we address this historic & systemic inequality in land ownership, food access, and labor by prioritizing the allocation of resources, decision making and power to historically excluded communities. We aim to hold ourselves accountable by building relationships, seeking inclusive participation, and practicing transparency.
Note: This equity statement is a living document to help member organizations start conversations and reflect on Oregon’s history. If you would like to add feedback to this process please contact [email protected]
- Improve communication and collaboration at local, regional and state levels
- Identify, and support replication and expansion of effective programs,
- Enhance member programmatic and administrative capacity and efficiency,
- Develop collaborative solutions to deliver better on-the-ground outcomes,
- Jointly measure and report outcomes to track statewide impact,
- Facilitate funding for OCFSN sponsored projects,
- Identify and advocate for state, regional and local policy solutions,
- Collectively achieve greater progress toward our shared food system vision.
UC SAREP Definition of Sustainable Community Food Systems
A sustainable community food system is a collaborative network that integrates sustainable food production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste management in order to engage the environmental, economic, and social health of a particular place. Some key features include:
- A stable base of family farms that use sustainable production practices and emphasize local inputs.
- Marketing and processing practices that create more direct links between farmers and consumers.
- Improved access by all community members to an adequate, affordable, nutritious diet.
- Food and agriculture-related businesses that create jobs and recirculate financial capital within the community.
- Improved living and working conditions for farm and food system labor.
History of OCFSN
OCFSN emerged from a series of statewide Community Food Systems Convenings funded by Meyer Memorial Trust that were held annually from 2012 to 2016. These Convenings were an opportunity for non-profit and community leaders from across the state to meet and share information about local and regional food systems development efforts. Participants quickly recognized the benefits of peer-to-peer networking, shared learning, and collaboration, and began to think about means to link and support the growing number of groups working on farm and food systems issues.
Planning began in earnest in 2014 with a group of volunteers drafting a proposal for formation of OCFSN. That proposal was affirmed in 2015 by 34 founding members, who also established four initial priority areas for collective action:
- SNAP Match, an incentive program that allows Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to use their benefits to buy local food and receive a dollar for dollar match to buy local fruits and vegetables.
- Veggie Rx, programming with healthcare providers to address food insecurity and improve health outcomes for patients with diet related disease.
- Increasing and improving Access to Land for new and expanding small farmers.
- Supporting Beginning Farmers & Ranchers by providing comprehensive services and outreach to this population.
- Wholesale Market Development to increase the flow of local food to retail and institutional buyers.
OCFSN was formally established with approval of by-laws in February 2016 and the election of the Leadership Team in June 2016. The OCFSN membership also grew to include 40 farm and food focused organizations.
OCFSN Leadership Team and Staff
Leadership Team Members
Greg Holmes (Chair)
Food Systems Program Director, 1,000 Friends of Oregon
Nora Frank Buckner (Vice Chair)
WEAVE-NW Project Coordinator, Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board
Sarah Sullivan (Treasurer)
Executive Director, Gorge Grown
Spencer Masterson (Secretary)
Statewide Network Manager, Oregon Food Bank
Board Member, Oregon Farmers Market Association
Katrina Van Dis
Executive Director, High Desert Food and Farm Alliance
Associate Director, OSU Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems
Director of Community Programs, Marion Polk Food Share
Nutrition Programs Director, ACCESS
Economic Development Specialist, Northeast Oregon Economic Development District
Matthew Buck, Network Coordinator