Key Organizations and Activities
Clackamas County published an “Agriculture Investment Plan” in 2010 and an “Agriculture and Food Shed Strategic Plan” in 2012. Both documents appear to have been withdrawn from circulation. A presentation on a “One Stop” component of the Agriculture Investment Plan can still be found archived by Oregon Solutions. A copy of the “Implementation Matrix” for the Food Shed Strategic Plan can still be found archived by USDA Western SARE. Currently, Clackamas County only maintains a “Food Support” webpage, which lists CSA farms, farmers’ markets and emergency food assistance sites. The city of Damascus also published its own “Healthy Food Damascus Plan” in 2013.
Oregon Food Bank published a community food assessment for Clackamas County in 2015.
Organizations involved in food systems work in Clackamas County include the Bull Run Foodshed Alliance, Food Waves, and Estacada SEED (Stewarding an Edible Estacada District – a non-profit, community-based program that promotes garden education in Estacada Schools). A Hoodland Farmacy food buying club has also been formed.
There is some urgency for work on farm and food issues in Clackamas County. Clackamas received the lowest farm-base indicator ranking in Oregon, earning only 5% of available points. Clackamas is losing land in farms (-24.4% since 2002), and, in particular, losing farms that raise food crops (-8.8% with 268 fewer farms). At the same time, however, the number of farmers turning to value-added product strategies is increasing (+8.8% with 74 new enterprises launched), as are the number of sole proprietor food businesses (+70.3% since 2007 with 26 new businesses launched) and the payrolls of food processor employers (+42.4% since 2007).
Community Goals and Recommendations
Priorities from the 2012 Clackamas Food Shed Strategic Plan include:
- Develop a regional (food product) brand.
- Identify opportunities for producers to increase production and sales of local food products. Define key links to regional processors, distributors and consumer outlets.
- Provide information on organic and other certification systems and processes.
- Provide access to education and training resources for farm business expansion.
The 2015 community food assessment for Clackamas County includes goals in several areas:
- Food Production:
- Organize farm tours and events to increase community awareness of local farms.
- Strengthen farmer networks and access to shared resources.
- Conduct feasibility study for agricultural storage and processing facilities.
- Food Consumption:
- Increase SNAP outreach at food pantries, farmers’ markets and grocery stores.
- Nutrition, food preparation, and food preservation for low-income families.
- Determine feasibility of rural retail stores increasing local produce sourcing.
- Community Involvement:
- Create a Clackamas County local food guide.
- Document the economic and social benefits of local food in Clackamas County.