Mission & Values
Supporting Central Oregon’s food system by fostering relationships between producers and consumers, increasing awareness of and access to food from our region, and cultivating community participation with local food.
In 2010, a Central Oregon Food Needs Assessment was developed by regional organizations to address hunger and food insecurity, retail sales and distribution of local food, and food production. In the fall, a Food Summit was held in Bend with 130 people and keynote speaker and author Mark Winne who recommended forming a Food Policy Council.
The enthusiasm that grew from the Food Summit and from the already snowballing local food movement resulted in the creation of the Central Oregon Food Policy Council. Food Policy Councils are formal organizations that bring together stakeholders from diverse food-related sectors to examine how the food system is operating and to develop policy recommendations on how to improve it. With the good graces of many wise and strong willed citizens, a strategic plan was developed and a 13-member board was appointed to form the new non-profit organization in 2012. The Board of Directors represented farmers and ranchers, food businesses, hunger relief, public health, land-use, local government, university, and the community-at-large.
Our accomplishments were diverse and numerous: the publication of the annual Food & Farm Directory; analysis of land-use policies with regards to farming practices in the tri-county region; the hosting of numerous conferences and workshops to educate farmers and retailers supporting local food, and participation in Project Connect, where we provided fresh food from local farmers to those at-risk or currently homeless residents. As our place in the community grew so did our focus, which slowly moved away from policy and towards programmatic work.
The new name, High Desert Food & Farm Alliance, was developed to better reflect our work and constituents. The mission and goals were re-defined and our core values included Access, Agriculture and Action. Our focus transitioned from land-use and policies to the broader food system, which included increased access to and education about healthy food. In 2015, we hired our first employee, which meant that we were finally able to increase our capacity to provide services to the region.
In 2017, the board developed a 3-year strategic plan which also included a mission update to further define our focus of providing education and improving collaboration. Our values are Collaboration, Education and Sustainability. To support this we run food access programs including Cooking Matters, Seed to Supper, Grow & Give, and support our farmers and ranchers through a variety of avenues including publishing over 40 farmer profiles, and distributing a 48-page, full color Food & Farm Directory. Our Board of Directors is made of up to 13 citizen-based volunteers representing various food system sectors across the trip-county region of Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson.