Key Organizations and Activities
Neighborworks Umpqua is community-focused non-profit that serves Douglas, Coos and Curry counties, and is a partner in Umpqua Local Goods – a social enterprise that includes a commercial kitchen and a retail store featuring local farm and food products and other goods.
Neighborworks Umpqua is also the lead coordinator for a Southwestern Oregon Food Systems Collaborative, which is implementing a Wealthworks Northwest project in Douglas, Coos and Curry counties to support local and regional value chain development for fishers.
Think Local Umpqua publishes an on-line directory of independent businesses in Douglas County that includes farm and food businesses.
A Markets of Umpqua initiative has been started to jointly brand and promote five county farmers’ markets.
A volunteer-led Umpqua Urban Edibles Project also started in 2015 to develop edible landscapes in parks, at churches and in other publicly accessible spaces.
Community Goals and Recommendations
Priorities from the 2013 community food assessment include:
Recommendations for Agriculture
- Offer technical assistance for farmers, especially small diversified and organic farmers.
- Create opportunities for farmers to network formally and informally.
- Provide information and support for farmers wanting to add value to farm goods.
- Support efforts to coordinate and strengthen food distribution networks locally.
- Investigate potential for expanding free-range poultry farming.
Recommendations for Food Access
- Increase access to fresh, local food to recipients of federal benefits like WIC and SNAP.
- Increase access to cooking and nutrition education for low-income students and adults.
- Expand gleaning throughout the county.
Recommendations for Community Food Efforts
- Continue communication among groups working for a resilient food future.
- Identify or create a key organization or coalition to drive goals.
- Measure economic impact of farmers markets to generate additional public support.
- Decrease local sourcing hurdles for small- and mid-scale wholesale markets such as restaurants and institutions.