Key Organizations and Activities
Gorge Grown Food Network completed a community food assessment for the Columbia Gorge Region, including Wasco County, in 2009.
A Columbia Gorge Community Health Assessment was completed in 2013, which identified food insecurity as a top concern. This was followed by development of a Columbia Gorge Community Health Improvement Process in 2014, which includes a focus on housing and food.
Gorge Grown offers both an on-line listing of local food resources, including farmers’ markets, CSA farms, u-pick operations, and value-added food producers. Gorge Grown also manages farmers’ markets in Hood River, Odell and Mosier directly, and provides support, training, and promotional materials to other markets in the Gorge.
Gorge Grown has also launched a fruit and vegetable prescription program. Eighteen health care providers are now providing $20 renewable vouchers to patients experiencing chronic disease or food insecurity, which they can redeem at farmers’ markets and 17 independent and chain grocery stores.
Community Goals and Recommendations
Priorities from the 2009 community food assessment were presented in 3 categories, including:
- Encourage the development/success of more locally‐focused farm and food businesses.
- Expand and improve producer education and cooperative marketing and networking opportunities to increase farm viability and growth
- Assist beginning and transitioning farmers in securing land on which to operate and startup capital and materials
- Develop and improve local markets, including direct to consumer sales opportunities.
- Fill regional supply chain gaps with stronger food processing/distribution infrastructure.
- Increase amount of fresh local produce available in food pantries, school meal programs, and community meal sites.
- Support rural food stores to provide a larger quantity of healthy, fresh, and affordable foods.
- Expand local availability of cooking and nutrition classes.
- Expand and coordinate local gardening resources for home gardeners.
- Work with schools to find additional means of increasing students’ exposure to and consumption of fresh food, especially fruits and vegetables.