The Oregon Community Food Systems Network (OCFSN) is a collaboration of 56 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.
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 and systemic racism of Native peoples, people of color, and immigrants. Through a coordinated statewide network, we address this historic and 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.
- 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.
Sustainable Community Food Systems
OCFSN uses the US SAREP definition of a sustainable community food system: “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 founding Leadership Team in June 2016.
2020 OCFSN Leadership Team
Leadership Team Members
Nora Frank Buckner (Chair)
WEAVE-NW Project Coordinator,
Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board
Edward Benote Hill (Vice Chair)
Black Food Sovereignty Coalition
Food Systems Program Director,
1,000 Friends of Oregon
Gorge Grown Food Network
Food Equity Manager,
High Desert Food and Farm Alliance
Food Systems Manager
Oregon Food Bank
OSU Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems
Economic Development Specialist,
Northeast Oregon Economic Development District
SNAP Outreach Coordinator,
Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon