Janelle Ruehl, Program Coordinator
334 NE Hawthorne Ave., Bend, OR 97701
Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC) has traditionally provided capacity and technical assistance to support regionally identified economic development initiatives on behalf of the 8 cities and 3 counties that it represents. COIC is a Department of Commerce designated Economic Development District, which drives the work to improve businesses and employment in industries such as agriculture. COIC is unique in that it is the regional organization that represents every sector and has the ability to apply for grants funds to fill the need for convening, capacity and resource development. One of the main areas of focus for the Community and Economic Development department is food systems where the goals are to 1) improve the local food system economy, 2) improve community resiliency, and 3) preserve the region’s ‘quality of life’ as a desirable place to live and work.
Projects that COIC has worked on to develop a food system in Central Oregon include:
- Development of a food hub study and steering committee to improve the movement local foods into the wholesale and direct markets
- Improving market development for farmer and ranchers by providing technical support to reduce risks such as business planning and market development, and connections with wholesale buyers
- Providing regional coordination and facilitation to support food-related projects and programs such as convening three school districts to develop a regional procurement plan