Diversity, equity and inclusion

DEI Statement

HDFFA aspires to be an organization that is equitable, diverse and inclusive in our services and programs, and as an imperative in our everyday activities and operations. We honor the variety of cultural perspectives that are present in Central Oregon, seek to overcome food access and health disparities, and embrace diversity. We are committed to building a sustainable and just food system in Central Oregon recognizing that advancing these values is ever evolving.

Our Food System

HDFFA believes that everyone deserves good food.  Yet people have been marginalized in their access to this food based on poverty, geographical disadvantages, non-culturally appropriate food options, and exploitative marketing.  At the same time our agricultural system is built and maintained on a foundation of oppression and systemic racism of Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) and immigrants. Furthermore, federal policies have limited access to land and capital for farmers and ranchers while creating inequitable food access for people.

We work within this food system framework. We recognize that there are many barriers to accessing, farming, raising and crafting food, and we work to reduce these barriers so that regional food products can be enjoyed by everyone.  We specifically focus on improving access to good food by individuals that have been marginalized, and supporting small to mid-sized, primarily new (less than 10 years) farmers and ranchers.

Our Committment

We commit to engaging in an ongoing learning process around privilege, power, inequality and systems of oppression, and using our organizational power to be an agent of change, primarily in Central Oregon.  We acknowledge that change needs to happen now, and recognize that it will take patience and dedication.  

Historical and Ongoing DEI Work

  • Use the Oregon Community Food System Network’s DEI lens in our programmatic work
  • Provide DEI training to our staff and board members
  • Provide capacity support to the Warm Springs Community Action Team to improve food access and Native Food Sovereignty
  • Collaborate with regional and state organizations, such as Oregon Community Food System Network’s VeggieRx and Beginning Farmer Rancher workgroup and Leadership Team, and Central Oregon Health Council’s Address Poverty and Enhance Self Sufficiency workgroup, to find ways to improve access and support for residents that have been marginalized due to systems and policies that do not adequately meet their needs
  • Engage with food access organizations, such as NeighborImpact and Oregon Food Bank, to identify and understand the challenges faced by food insecure families
  • Engage with farmer/rancher support organizations, such as Friends of Family Farmers, Rogue Farm Corps, and OSU Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems to better meet the needs of our regional producers.
  • Commit to learning, educating, convening, communicating and finding solutions to improve food system inequalities
  • Work with a diverse group of organizations, businesses, and groups to expand and improve equity in our local food system
  • Purchase food directly from small-mid sized regional farmers for our food access programs
  • Pay VeggieRx participants to participate in post-program follow up surveys
  • Prioritize/reserve grant funds for self-identified HDFFA farm Partners who have been socially disadvantaged

2021 DEI Work

  • Incorporate DEI into our strategic plan
  • Provide DEI support to our staff including monthly meetings with our DEI Committee Chair/HDFFA Board Member
  • Work with a paid BIPOC consultant to identify communities within Central Oregon who are experiencing discrimination and/or marginalization as it relates to food systems work, identify barriers to farming and ranching for BIPOC community members, and advise HDFFA on better practices for inclusive programming.
  • Provide funding to BIPOC and marginalized individuals participating in our DEI Working Group, which will inform the consultant’s work
  • Allocate funds for BIPOC and marginalized individuals as identified by the DEI Committee
  • Remove barriers to accessing our programs (e.g. translate materials to Spanish, seek alternatives to participants limited by transportation)
  • Incorporate culturally appropriate food into our programming

how to stay engaged

  • Follow these leaders:
    • Black Food Sovereignty Coalition works in solidarity with BIPOC growers, policy makers, advocates, and educators to stabilize food systems infrastructure for marginalized communities in the Pacific Northwest
    • Paul Taylor, Nonprofit leader and anti-poverty activist in Toronto, Canada
    • Soul Fire Farm, Afro-Indigenous centered community farm based in NY
  • Participate in the conversation in your community, support policy changes that address inequities and build resiliency
  • Continue your education: watch Gather, read about communities fighting to reclaim their traditions and sovereignty
  • This is a living document – bookmark and revisit this page for updates and new information.

Diversity: full range of differences and similarities visible and non-visible that make each individual unique, such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, abilities and disabilities, religion, age, and perspectives arising from different backgrounds.

Equity: understanding that there are varied needs of different groups based on identity. Equity values equal outputs and recognizes that everyone starts from a different place.

Inclusion: environment that engages multiple perspective, where diverse individuals are able to participate fully in the decision-making processes within an organization, group (or network). It’s ensuring a seat at the table.  

(Oregon Community Food System Network working definitions for DEI)

Native Food sovereignty: the right of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians to produce their own traditional foods on their own lands to sustain themselves, their families and their communities (First Nations Development Institute)

Food inequity: the adverse effects of both the production and distribution of food that marginalized communities face. We currently have an inequitable food system that disproportionately burdens and denies access to communities of color and high poverty. In an equitable food system, race, class, geography, and other social identities would not be indicators for whether or not you have a voice in and access to a nourishing food system (Iowa State University)

Socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers: American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Asians, Blacks or African Americans, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and women who have been subject to racial, ethnic, or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities.

HDFFA uses the definition provided by USDA because they fund our Agricultural Support program. HDFFA is thankful for this support but feel a duty to acknowledge that our food system is built on a foundation of land seizure, racism, social oppression and economic discrimination against BIPOC in the United States. We advocate for change.

Additional equity definitions from the Oregon Food Bank

We welcome your feedback, comments, or suggestions at info@hdffa.org

Contact Us

We're not around right now, but we would love to hear from you. Team HDFFA

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