Key Organizations and Activities
There has been significant assessment and planning activity in Lane County. In 2010, the University of Oregon Community Planning Workshop published a Lane County Local Food Market Analysis. In 2011 Food for Lane County and Oregon Food Bank published a community food assessment for Rural Lane County, including Florence, Oakridge, and the McKenzie River Valley. In 2012 Lane Workforce Partnership published a Food/Beverage Industry Cluster Analysis. In 2014 the City of Eugene published a Lane County Public Market and Food Hub Analysis. Lane County Community and Economic Development has also provided funding for expansion of local food businesses, including Camas Country Mill, GloryBee Honey, Hummingbird Wholesale and Sweet Creek Foods.
Lane County is also home to a large number of farm and food focused organizations, including:
- Willamette Farm & Food Coalition publishes a Locally Grown Guide, is a leader in Farm to School programming, and organizes annual Fill Your Pantry farmers markets.
- Cascade Pacific RC&D hosts an annual Local Food Connection.
- The South Willamette Chapter of Rogue Farm Corps offers beginning farmer training.
- NEDCO manages the SPROUT! commercial kitchen business incubator.
- Huerto de la Familia provides the Latino community with garden and farm education programs and small business development training through a food booth incubator.
- Food for Lane County operates a youth managed CSA farm and gardening classes.
- School Garden Project of Lane County helps schools with garden education programs.
- Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance is a regional trade association that promotes natural food businesses.
Community Goals and Recommendations
The 2011 community food assessment for Rural Lane County included the following priorities:
- Support and expand consumer food buying clubs.
- Set up gleaning programs.
- Expand education around cooking and shopping on a budget.
- Increase collaboration between small rural retail grocers.
- Increase distribution and the number of retail outlets for local fresh produce.
- Increase distribution, retail outlets and direct sale opportunities for locally caught fish.
- Identify and publish information on existing certified commercial kitchens.
- Develop larger-scale processing capacity to enable food producers to sell to institutions.
- Encourage a countywide conversation about food self-sufficiency.
Willamette Farm and Food Coalition is also running a “Lane County Food makes Dollars and Sense” campaign with a goal of increasing local food consumption from less than 10% to 20% by the year 2020.
Achieving that goal will require each household to dedicate an average of $31 per week to local products, and is estimated to generate $300 million in new revenue for local businesses and create 4,478 new jobs in Lane County.