Lauren Gwin, Associate Director
131 Crop Science Bldg., Corvallis, OR 97331
The Oregon State University Center for Small Farms & Community Food Systems combines education, research, and collaboration to achieve our vision of successful, environmentally regenerative small farms and sustainable community food systems. The Center has at its heart the Extension Small Farms Program, which currently has field-based faculty and staff covering sixteen counties in Oregon, plus two statewide specialists.
Since the mid-1990s, the Extension Small Farms Program has supported the development and viability of small-scale, organic and sustainable farming and the local and regional food systems in which they are nested. The Program is a national leader in applied research and education related to small-scale, organic and sustainable agriculture, and local and regional food systems.
The Small Farms Program’s mission is to provide Oregon’s small farms, ranches, and local food system stakeholders with the training, tools, and research they need for long-term financial and environmental sustainability. We accomplish this through instructional, experiential, and community building approaches.
Our flagship programs include:
- Organic and Sustainable Farming Applied Research
- Beginning Farmer and Rancher Education
- Small Farm Profitability and Viability
- Women’s Farming Networks
- Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network
- Food Safety and Small Farms
- Farm Direct Marketing Research
Our team is nationally known not only for doing cutting-edge research to address pressing production challenges but then turning that research into practical tools farmers can use to improve their daily operations and long-term viability.
The Center for Small Farms & Community Food Systems was established in 2013 to strengthen and expand our programs to more farmers, ranchers, and local food system stakeholders as their numbers grow across Oregon and the nation. The Center’s mouthful of a name recognizes that sustainable agriculture and food production are integrally linked with community health and wellbeing: we engage with people and organizations – inside and outside our university – with expertise and experience in community health, nutrition, and wellness. In so doing, we strive to create partnerships and projects that connect the dots across the food system, to work together to solve pressing societal issues around farming, food, health, and equity.
Local, regional, and community food system development is a complex, multi-disciplinary effort requiring a wide array of expertise, skills, and partnerships. Our Center accelerates our ability to work strategically with campus-based and statewide faculty to support sustainable and resilient community food systems.
Oregon has a rich array of statewide- and community-based non-profits working across the community food system spectrum. Their leaders, members, analysis, advocacy, and grassroots organizing provide critical energy for food system change. Our partnerships with them – individually and through the Oregon Community Food Systems Network – are essential to our approach and effectiveness.