We asked HDFFA staff what they are most excited for in 2021.
Here is what they said:
“In 2020 we expanded our VeggieRx program to reach homebound veterans, and in 2021 we’re excited to more than triple our number of veteran participants, through a grant from the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs. By partnering with local social workers, nutritionists, physicians, and more, we’re able to help new participants access locally grown vegetables and fruits, ensuring increased access to nutritious foods.
I’m also looking forward to continuing our work supporting the Warm Springs Community Action Team as they begin their Food Sovereignty Assessment. Our collaboration started just prior to the emergence of COVID so we’ve had a few disruptions along the way; it has been a good reminder that patience is key and that there will always be external challenges in our work.”
“We’ve been expanding the number of people and places we’ve offered VeggieRx for the last three seasons. For the 2021 VeggieRx season, we are strengthening our program by increasing the length and offering more personalized nutrition education. We hope to more closely understand the effect of VeggieRx programming on participants.
Additionally, we hope to provide more support and utilize market partners to champion participant’s engagement. We will connect participants who utilize SNAP with Double Up Food Bucks and market guides. We hope to produce, create, and publish nutritional demonstration videos. I am SO excited to grow the program and be a part of it all.”
“We had so much fun putting together our fall meal kit fundraiser, and it was so well received that we’re planning another event this spring to celebrate and connect folks to local foods. It will be a great way to kick off the 2021 growing season and the perfect gift option for Mother’s Day. Look for more details soon on social media and our website. These fundraising events support our ability to continue increasing food access throughout Central Oregon, which is something we feel very passionate about. It’s been so wonderful to see more producers accepting SNAP benefits and regional farmers markets offering the Double Up Food Bucks program, which is a great way to improve food access and security in our communities.
On a personal note, I am very excited to plan, plant and tend to my home garden this year. Last season we expanded our garden beds and learned a lot about high desert gardening. Shout out to Katrina for being my gardening mentor (whether she realizes it or not!) I’ve been thumbing through seed catalogs and scheming about how to improve upon lessons learned. I can’t wait for those early spring crops to start poking up – yay!”
“Through a new grant we received in 2020, we are able to offer a new agritourism project! I am looking forward to working with Travel Oregon to develop a Central Oregon Food and Farm Trail that will help community members and visitors alike access all the amazing on-farm experiences that the High Desert has to offer!
We also recently rolled out the Farm and Ranch Resiliency Award which aims to showcase the amazing ways our producers have incorporated resilience into their operations. I am excited to see the innovative ways they have done this and spread this to other farmers and ranchers.
Since I started in September, I’ve only been able to visit a handful of our amazing farm and ranch partners. I’m really looking forward to getting back in the field again with our producers once it’s safe to learn more about what makes agriculture in Central Oregon so unique.”
“I am very excited to expand our Fresh Harvest Kit Program in 2021! For the last few years we have worked with 3 partner agencies in Sisters, Bend, and Warm Springs to distribute ready-to-make meal kits featuring local veggies. In 2021 we are offering supplies, volunteers, and support to even more agencies in the tri-county area interested in providing Fresh Harvest Kits to their clients.
In my first year with HDFFA, we were able to secure emergency funding to reimburse farmers for their contributions to Grow & Give to help offset potential loss of markets due to the pandemic. In 2021 and beyond we aim to make reimbursements a permanent part of our programming. I am so excited to work with our partner farmers this year and offer incentives for growing and contributing produce to Grow & Give again.
HDFFA Volunteers- as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, look out for more communications from me about our *new* Harvest Team Leader opportunity. Above all, I can’t wait to get my hands dirty in the fields and I hope to see you there!”
“I enjoyed my time managing HDFFA’s booth at the Bend Farmers’ Market and the Northwest Crossing Farmers’ Market last summer, and I am thrilled for the opportunity to continue working with HDFFA. I learned a whole lot about the organization, but am so excited to learn more about the ins and outs of running a non-profit organization while building the capacity of our food access programs. One thing that I am looking forward to is the Virtual Speaker Series that we will be putting on this spring. Stay tuned for dates and keynote speakers!
With new partnerships rolling in, it has me very excited to see the complete 2021 HDFFA Food and Farm Community. As we expand our reach and communication, I look forward to seeing our partners better represent the Central Oregon Community as a whole. We have been hard at work all winter reaching out to new partners and getting the Food and Farm Directory ready for print, and I can’t wait to see who we get to work with this year.”
“Partnering with the Warm Springs Community Action Team who will conduct a food sovereignty assessment in Warm Springs while we work in the cities of Prineville, Madras and LaPine, collaborating to improve food access and support existing projects
- Initiating a project with Travel Oregon to create a Food & Farm Trail
- Improving access and education about regional foods through our Get a Taste campaign
- Developing resources and projects that meet the needs identified by Central Oregon farmers and ranchers and our Agricultural Advisory Committee
- Expanding VeggieRx to include veterans through a OR Dept of Veteran’s Affairs grant
- Participating with the Oregon Community Food Systems Network Leadership Team, Board of Directors, and Beginning Farmer and Rancher and VeggieRx Working Groups
- Consulting with Spring Alaska Schreiner of Sakari Farms on how to be more inclusive of our BIPOC community by creating space for dialogue with our program participants, assessing how our programs are structured, and understanding our personal and organizational biases.”
Interested in learning more about or getting involved with any of these projects? Email firstname.lastname@example.org