Key Organizations and Activities
The Community Action Program of East Central Oregon completed a community food assessment for East Central Oregon, including Wheeler County, in 2010.
Columbia Plateau Food Links is a regional group of individuals and organizations networking to promote and coordinate a healthy, sustainable and economically viable community food system. An associated Facebook page provides posting on regional farm and food events.
A local food guide for Gilliam and Wheeler counties was published in 2011.
A garden has been established at the Fossil Charter School.
Other local resources appear to be focused primarily on emergency food assistance.
Community Goals and Recommendations
The 2010 community food assessment included the following priorities:
- Increase outreach and networking around local food and farm opportunities.
- Implement a public education campaign on the benefits of a local food system.
- Expand educational opportunities for community members.
- Leverage gardening and farming education resources to increase skills.
- Expand agricultural opportunities for youth.
- Increase the production of food for local consumption.
- Explore and implement season extending strategies.
- Increase the number of venues featuring locally or regionally produced food.
- Engage institutional food purchasers about locally or regionally produced food.
- Ensure access to a stable fresh food supply for all citizens year-round.
- Support viability of grocery stores that are responsive to community needs.
- Develop a stronger local food system infrastructure.
- Identify or build a cold storage facility.
- Establish a distribution network for transportation of locally-produced food to markets within the county and into the larger region.
These are worthy goals, but community engagement and commitment need to be increased.