Key Organizations and Activities
Columbia Health Coalition is working to address chronic disease with goals including improving food offerings in schools and workplaces, promoting community gardening, and ensuring citizens have access (within 3 miles) to supermarkets.
OSU Extension is implementing a GROW (Generating Rural Options for Weight) program in Columbia County to promote healthy eating and physical activitiy.
Lower Columbia School Gardens has helped 16 schools on both the Oregon and Washington sides of the river start and maintain garden programs.
Innovation Ingenuity Center provides resources related to aquaponic gardening.
A Columbia County Natural consumer food-buying club has also been formed.
Community Goals and Recommendations
Priorities from the 2012 community food assessment included:
- Educate consumers on buying shares of locally raised livestock.
- Encourage niche markets, like organic, for meat and dairy producers.
- Create a list of certified kitchens for small scale food preparation and processing.
- Support producers in meeting food safety standards.
Food Supply Chain Opportunities
- Create a Buy Local campaign to educate consumers on the benefits of local food.
- Connect local restaurants and producers. Highlight local foods on menus.
- Create an event where local producers and buyers can meet and learn about one another’s needs and challenges.
- Support cross-promotion and marketing of local foods by all food-based businesses.
Food Assistance Opportunities
- Increase efforts to enroll seniors in food assistance programs.
- Encourage youth involvement with 4-H, FFA and gardening programs.
- Incorporate meal planning/budgeting in school life skills classes.