Rogue Valley Food System Network

Alison Hensley Sexauer, Coordinator
Box 1255, Medford, OR 97528
[email protected] 

The Rogue Valley Food System Network is a group of individuals, organizations, and businesses who have joined together to strengthen our local food system through collaboration.  The Network was formed after a year-long community engagement effort that identified food system resources and needs.

The action plan that emerged focuses on eight goals to improve access to local food, promote healthy eating, enhance social equity and develop economic vitality.  Over and over, community members told us that we could have a greater collective impact on our food system if there was a structure for increased information sharing and collaboration.

Network Mission

The Rogue Valley Food System Network establishes a collaborative community of leadership to develop and advocate for a healthy and sustainable food system in Josephine and Jackson Counties.

What We Have Accomplished So Far

The Rogue Valley Food System Council has accomplished a lot in its brief two plus years of existence. After spending some time getting organized and identifying priorities, the Council established a regular time and format for ongoing meetings, which are now regularly attended by a dozen or more additional members of the public. As a result of outreach and publicity efforts the original 15 partners expanded to include several dozen organizations and individuals, including a number of businesses, both counties, and several of the cities in the region.

The Council initially focused our efforts on exploring three major subject areas: access to food; healthy eating, and enhancing the local food economy. Through staff and Council support, we helped design and incubate several projects, including the Healthy Corner Store initiative, a pilot healthy eating Rx program, and a wholesale market development program. 2014 ended with a highly successful public forum where more than 110 people from the local community gathered to hear about work being done by our partners to strengthen the local food economy, which led to an invitation to create our own pavilion full of displays at the 2015 Jackson County Fair, where several thousand local residents learned about our regional food system.

Looking Forward

The Council met in the Fall of 2015 to establish priorities for work in 2016 and beyond. We reached consensus almost immediately that our focus would be to build upon our early success rather than initiating major new initiatives. Four focus areas were adopted into our 2016-2018 Strategic Plan:

  • Increase the participation and support of our constituents as we build our capacity as a trusted source of leadership, information and education;
  • Prioritize our efforts to convene critical stakeholders to assess and address challenges and connect the dots;
  • Continue to collaborate with and learn from regional efforts, and connect what is happening here to work in other communities across the state; and

Ensure the sustainability of the Network by securing stable funding.