New study reveals Oregon’s farmland is in increasingly older hands.

In the next 20 years, 64% of Oregon’s farmland (up to 10.45 million acres) is expected to change hands, according to a recent research study by Oregon State University, Portland State University, and Rogue Farm Corps.

The study found that the average age of farmer in Oregon is edging towards 60 and the vast majority of Oregon farmers and ranchers likely do not have a thorough plan for passing on their farm business and assets to the next generation. Thus, it is unclear who will farm and steward this land into the future.

Moreover, beginning and young farmers find it harder and harder to access farmland, with dramatically increasing farmland prices – averaging $30,000 per acre in Clackamas County, for example. One reason that farmland prices might be escalating is increasing demand from non-farming farmland purchasers, including investment companies and “lifestyle” rural residents.

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“With 84 percent of Oregon farms and ranches being sole proprietorships, we’re concerned that many farms do not have thorough succession plans. It begs the question of how this land will transition and the impact that will have on future generations,” said Nellie McAdams, farm preservation program director of Rogue Farm Corps.

There is no doubt that the stakes are high when it comes to the potential loss of Oregon’s farmland. Agriculture directly accounts for four percent of the state’s employment and indirectly accounts for 14 percent. Twenty percent of Oregon’s agricultural products remain in the state, supplying local food systems and providing food security. Agricultural business owners contribute to their rural economies and communities. And the open space and associated fish and wildlife habitat that agricultural lands provide support important environmental, scenic, and lifestyle benefits for the entire state.

The Future of Oregon’s Agricultural Land” delves into issues of farmland tenure and the likely results for Oregon’s economy, food systems, and rural communities. The report also identifies important avenues for further research and also educational and policy tools that will help Oregon farmers with succession planning and assist beginning farmers in securing land. Examples include working lands easements, farming-savvy succession counselors, and other strategies. The report emphasizes that planning ahead for farmland transition, and focusing on access by diverse farmers, is key to making sure land remains used for agricultural purposes.

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Researchers drew upon data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), interviews with several dozen farmers, realtors, and other stakeholders, and a pilot study of tax records in four Oregon counties to examine trends in farmland transfers.

Read the report and executive summary on OSU’s website for more information, and contact Nellie McAdams, Farm Preservation Program Director at Rogue Farm Corps, for more information: [email protected]

http://centerforsmallfarms.oregonstate.edu/publications

2016 Culture of Health Prize Winner: Columbia Gorge Region Veggie Rx Program

Announcement

The Columbia Gorge Region is a winner of the 2016 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize. One of the community’s successful initiatives is a “Veggie Rx” program. Veggie Rx is administered by OCFSN Member organization Gorge Grown Food Network and was developed in partnership with Lauren Kraemer of Oregon State University Extension’s Family & Community Health (FCH) program. The Veggie Rx program “prioritizes food not just theoretically or through nutritional advice, but on the ground by screening patients for their food needs,” says Sarah Sullivan, executive director of Gorge Grown. Veggie Rx is a unique program to feed the food insecure. It grew out of a needs assessment by the region’s Coordinated Care Organization that deemed Food Insecurity as a top issue along with a Community Food Assessment that determined 1 in 3 people in the Gorge worry about where their food comes from, and 1 in 5 miss meals regularly.

Issue Overview

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 1990 no state had an obesity rate greater than 15%. Just 15 years later, however, 5 states had obesity rates between 20% and 25%, and the remaining 45 states all had rates over 25%.

Studies have shown that being overweight or obese poses risks for health problems including type 2 diabetes, high blood cholesterol, hypertension and stroke, asthma, and certain forms of cancer. The National Center for Weight & Wellness at George Washington University has estimated that obesity-related medical costs now total over $300 billion.

Local and community food systems advocates are now promoting affordable access to fresh fruits and vegetables in an effort to shift diets away from highly processed, high-fat and high-sugar foods.

Veggie Rx programs empower doctors and nurses to offer vouchers for purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables to patients who are experiencing specific diet related health concerns or food insecurity. Some programs also offer nutrition counseling and cooking skills education to help patients develop healthier eating habits.

About the Program

The mission of Gorge Grown is to build a resilient and inclusive regional Food System that improves the health and well-being of the community. In 2014, 40 organizations worked together to identify the top health needs in the region through a Community Health Needs Assessment.  Through this work, the top two needs identified by community members in the Social Determinants of Health category were food insecurity and affordable housing.

Gorge Grown’s Veggie Rx program is a fruit and vegetable prescription program designed to address food insecurity and increase intake of fresh produce. The program empowers health care and social services providers to ‘prescribe’ vouchers to community members who screen positive for food insecurity.

Citizens are screened by 40 participating health care and social service providers. If they suffer from hunger, they are given a packet of vouchers worth $30 for one month to redeem at any one of 30 local groceries, farms stands, or farmers markets. This provides direct access to healthy, local produce to those that need it most while strengthening the economy by keeping dollars local.

The program has fed more than 6,500 people in just one year with an emphasis on pregnant mothers, children younger than 10, diabetics and the elderly. Recipients have embraced the idea: at senior centers, the redemption rate has been as high as 98 percent. Funding support has come from local hospitals and clinics, as well as private sources, with efforts underway to raise additional public and private funds to expand and sustain a larger base of users. The Veggie Rx program has been a tool for linking farmers with local consumers, and participants have experienced an improvement in diet, nutrition, physical health, mental health, and financial health. Additional information about Gorge Grown’s Veggie Rx program can be found here.

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About the Award

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), whose mission is “to improve the health and health care of all Americans,” has selected seven communities to receive the 2016 RWJF Culture of Health Prize (#cutlureofhealthprize). The winning communities were chosen from a group of nearly 200 applicants and are being honored for their efforts to ensure all residents have the opportunity to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives.

Each winner will receive a $25,000 cash prize, join a network of Prize-winning communities, and share their inspiring stories of challenges met, successes achieved, and lessons learned with other communities building a Culture of Health across the country. More information about the 2016 RWJF Culture of Health Prize for Veggie Rx in the Columbia River Gorge can be found here.

veggie-rx-rwjf-award

Sponsors sought for 2017 Oregon Community Food Systems Convening.

The Oregon Community Food Systems Convening is a two-day event that brings advocates, organizers, and service providers from throughout the state to Corvallis each February to share information, participate in workshops and trainings, and advance common goals for positive food systems change.

The 2017 Convening will mark the 6th time this event has been held. The 2012-2016 Convenings were made possible by Meyer Memorial Trust. Starting this year, OCFSN is opening the door for other sponsors to show their support for stronger local and regional food systems.

We are pleased to acknowledge the Harbourton Foundation as our first Platinum Sponsor for 2017.

Sponsorship opportunities include:

Presenting Sponsor

(1 only)

$25,000 ·      Opportunity to speak during opening plenary.

·      Full-page ad on back cover of conference program.

·      Name and logo on center stage signage.

·      Public thanks by organizers.

·      4 conference registrations.

·      Banner on OCFSN website.

Platinum

Sponsor

$10,000 ·      Full-page ad in conference program.

·      Name and logo on event signage.

·      Public thanks by organizers.

·      2 conference registrations.

·      Banner on OCFSN website.

Gold Sponsor $5,000 ·      Public thanks by organizers.

·      2 conference registrations.

·      1/2 page ad in conference program.

·      Banner on OCFSN website.

Silver Sponsor $2,500 ·      1 conference registration.

·      1/4 page ad in conference program.

·      Name and logo on OCFSN website.

Copper Sponsor $1,000 ·      1 conference registration.

·      Name and logo in conference program.

·      Name and logo on OCFSN website.

Friend $500 ·      Name and logo in conference program.

·      Name and logo on OCFSN website.

Supporter $100 ·      Name in conference program.

·      Name on OCFSN website.

The 2017 Oregon Community Food Systems Convening will be the site of some of the most important conversations held on farm and food issues all year. Don’t miss out on your chance to support and be part of the conversation as we continue to define our shared vision, strategies and goals for Oregon.

Please e-mail call Matthew Buck at 503-267-4667 or e-mail [email protected] if you have questions about sponsorship of the 2017 Oregon Community Food Systems Convening.

 

 

OCFSN elects new board members and officers.

OCFSN members have elected representatives to serve on the Leadership Team, and guide this young organization into the future. We thank them for their vision, dedication, and service.

Members and officers of the Leadership Team now include:

CHAIR

Sara Miller, Economic Development Specialist
Northeast Oregon Economic Development District

VICE CHAIR

Greg Holmes, Food Systems Program Director
1000 Friends of Oregon

SECRETARY

Stacey Sobell, Food & Farms Director
Ecotrust

TREASURER

Katrina Van Dis, Economic & Community Development Program Administrator
Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council

MEMBERS

Katie Furia, Program Manager
Farmers Market Fund

Kasandra Griffin, Policy Manager – Food and School Health
Upstream Public Health

Lauren Gwin, Associate Director
Oregon State University Center for Small Farms & Community Food Systems

Spencer Masterson, Community Food Systems Manager
Oregon Food Bank

Wendy Siporen, Director
THRIVE: The Rogue Initiative for a Vital Economy

 

Oregon Community Food Systems Network website launched!

The Oregon Community Food Systems Network (OCFSN) is a collaboration by organizations throughout the state committed to local, regional and sustainable food systems development. With 40 signed member organizations, and applications by new members welcome, OCFSN is the place where Oregonians meet to build a better food system.

This website currently offers:

  • Information on OCFSN, including how to become a member.
  • Overviews of current OCFSN issue priorities.
  • Profiles of OCFSN members and their food systems efforts.
  • Food systems indicator data for all 36 Oregon counties.

Subscribe to our blog or check back regularly, because we will be:

  • Posting links to food systems research, tools and resources.
  • Provide updates on members projects and programs.
  • Sharing a calendar of farm and food related conferences, tours, and other events.

In the interim, if you have questions about OCFSN, e-mail us at [email protected] or call OCFSN Coordinator Matthew Buck at 503-267-4667.