Supporting Our Food System

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.

COLLABORATION

COLLABORATION

We value collaboration among farmers, chefs, consumers and like-minded organizations in order to increase access to fresh food for everyone.

EDUCATION

EDUCATION

Improving the knowledge and self-reliance of our community through cooking and gardening classes, and farming and chef workshops.

SUSTAINABILITY

SUSTAINABILITY

Preserving our agricultural heritage and working landscapes by connecting the community to each other through food.

History

2010 Central Oregon Needs Assessment

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.

2012 Central Oregon 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.

2012-2014 Accomplishments

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.

High Desert Food & Farm Alliance

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 annually publishing and distributing our High Desert Food and Farm Directory, a 48-page, full color community resource to local food.  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.

Meet Our Team

  • Katrina Van Dis
    Katrina Van Dis Executive Director

    Katy grew up on a cherry orchard in Eastern Oregon and as a kid sold cherries on the side of the road to help fund her college tuition.  Her passion to make her community a better place to live by connecting with farmers and food is contagious. She can be found playing in the dirt in her neighborhood garden she built or somewhere in the woods finding solace with her husband and dog, Jake.

  • Jess Weiland
    Jess Weiland Food & Farm Director

    Jess is fueled by the belief that food is a medium to improve civic engagement and that problems can be solved over a shared meal. She grew up on a tree farm and operated a vegetable farm nestled in Wisconsin. Jess is devoted to building community through the support of local agriculture and is excited to share this enthusiasm. Jess is happiest when traipsing in the woods or on an adventure in the kitchen.

  • Shaili Parekh
    Shaili Parekh Project Assistant

    Shaili is passionate about empowering communities through healthy food access and is interested in the ways race, gender, and class shape our relationships to food.  She has worked with refugees, food banks, and schools to engage folks of all backgrounds with cooking and gardening. Shaili is happiest when she’s experimenting in her kitchen late at night, dancing to groovy live music, or climbing rocks outdoors.

  • Marielle Gold
    Marielle Gold Evaluation Consultant

    Marielle’s passion for food was nurtured while growing up in France and making dinners alongside her Mom on a daily basis. Marielle earned a Ph.D. in Immunology and directed a basic science laboratory but always remained focused on preserving her connection with cooking and nutrition.  When Marielle moved to Bend in 2016 she was able to combine her passion for local healthy food with her background in scientific research.

  • Laura Moss
    Laura Moss Board Chair, Community-At-Large, Deshutes

    Laura grew up on a horse farm in the Willamette Valley countryside, with an abundance of local food and fresh cooking. Since moving to Bend in 2005, Laura has advocated for local food, farmers, and food justice. Her desire to increase access to and awareness of Central Oregon food and products attracted her to HDFFA. Her work and volunteer experience in food systems will vastly benefit HDFFA. She has a BS in Political Science and a minor in Sustainability from Portland State University.

  • Jane Sabin-Davis
    Jane Sabin-Davis Board Secretary and Volunteer Project Manager

    Jane has been involved with local food for the past 45 years.  She began gardening as a young mother interested in quality produce and her interests peaked when the family bought 25 acres of cherries and managed an acre vegetable garden. Jane has worked as the Director of the Oregon Rural Action and Blue Mountain Humane Association and served on two international non-profit board of directors.  She is an avid gardener, mountain biker and dog-lover.

  • Becca Burda
    Becca Burda Food Business, Whole Foods

    Becca is the Marketing and Community Relations Liaison for Whole Foods Market.  She grew up in Bend and believes in the power of healthy food access for all.  Becca took a break from marketing in the Portland radio industry and did something completely different for eight years, baked bread and pastries for local bakeries.  She sees the great opportunity to promote healthy organic eating and connecting to the local farming community through her job.  Her quiet time includes hiking trails with her 2-year-old, Davy, on her back.

  • Carly Sanders
    Carly Sanders Hunger Relief, NeighborImpact

    Carly is the Food Bank Manager for NeighborImpact. She is committed to the organization’s mission to increase access to fresh, local food in Central Oregon. She wants to provide opportunities to increase the awareness of and the need for disadvantaged Central Oregonians to gain greater access. Carly will collaborate with HDFFA’s Food Recovery Program to assure that available fresh, local food is delivered to local food pantries and kitchens.

  • Chelsie Carter
    Chelsie Carter Community Health, PacificSource

    Chelsie is the Wellness & Community Programs Specialist for PacificSource. It’s important to her to follow the mission of providing better health and care by actively participating in efforts to improve our communities. She’s passionate about real food, supporting our local farmers, and feels it’s vital to teach where food comes from. Her favorite reads are by Michael Pollan and Joel Salatin and in her spare time she enjoys building up her small farm, the outdoors, and yoga.

  • Clare Sullivan
    Clare Sullivan University, OSU Extension

    Clare is the OSU Small Farms and Community Food Systems Extension Agent for Central Oregon.  She grew up in Guelph, Ontario and spent 10 years studying and working in agriculture around Canada before joining OSU Extension in 2014. Clare is excited to work with farmers to increase the viability of their farming operations, and enjoys highlighting the importance of agriculture to the community at large. She also likes staying active, speaking Spanish, and laughing.

  • Jerre Kosta-Dodson
    Jerre Kosta-Dodson Farmer, Dancing Cow, Crook County

    Jerre is the proud owner of one of the few woman-operated farms and ranches in Central Oregon, raising heritage breeds of livestock, poultry, vegetables, herbs and fruit using holistic resource management methods. Providing local food to local people is most dear to her heart and Jerre wants to see the farming/ranching environments grow, survive and thrive.

  • Juli Huddleston
    Juli Huddleston Community Health, Medcor Deschutes Onsite Clinic

    Juli (aka Jules) is a lover of food and fitness. This love seeps into a career of helping people reach their full health potential by living the best quality life for wellbeing and happiness. Her educational background is in Exercise Physiology, Food Policy, Applied Nutrition and Dietetics. She has worked in various capacities as a personal trainer, educator, and dietitian since moving to Bend in 2007. Jules has a passion for cooking, crossfit and being active outdoors.

  • Zanne Sheets
    Zanne Sheets Rancher, Grizzly Mountain Eco Ranch, Jefferson Cty.

    After living as “backyard farmers,” Zanne and her husband David made the leap to a bigger plot. Their aspiration was to establish a model for sustainable living. Their ranch is off the grid and powered by wind and sun. They grow organic fruits and vegetables and raise heritage breed chickens and llamas. Zanne is a foodie-at-heart and strongly believes that increasing awareness and action around food and farm issues is essential to building a healthy community and environment

Sponsors

Agricultural Connections

Bends Indoor Garden Supply

Bend Health Guide

Broken Top Bottle Shop

Cascade Culinary Institute

Instant Landscaping

Rogue Farm Corps

Brent Hunter State Farm Insurance

Cascade Culinary Institute

Kokanee Cafe

Spork

High Desert Martial Arts

Mecca Grade Estate Malt

OSU Extension Service

Contact Us

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