When it comes to local foods, we’re all in. Use our Food & Farm Directory as your guide to begin or advance your steps in making local a priority and resource for all.
As COVID spread across Central Oregon this spring, we witnessed how it touched our entire community. What is usually a time of new growth and and reconnection after winter hibernation was instead a time of social distancing, food scarcity and heavy job losses.
Food insecurity has been widely overlooked and misunderstood until now. What was momentarily uncomfortable for most of us – shelves without food – is a daily struggle for 28,000 Central Oregonians who lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.
Food access is a basic necessity. At HDFFA, we are founded on the belief that everyone deserves good food from local sources, and that our food connects us to each other. We make this happen.
During the growing season we collect and distribute fresh food from local farmers to the regional food bank, serving over 40% of their clients in 2019 with 16,000 pounds of food. We provide access to fresh food by low-income residents experiencing diet-related diseases, such as heart disease or type II diabetes, by providing vouchers for produce at the Bend and Redmond Farmers Markets and in Prineville through VeggieRx.
What’s important to know is that local food is grown by Central Oregon farmers, raised by ranchers, made by chefs, salsa makers, toffee experts, brewers, and caterers. HDFFA supports these producers and knows that they rely on you to purchase from them beyond COVID times.
Many of our partners have laid off staff, closed their doors, or started road-side farm stands as they continue to face uncertainty. At the same time, our most vulnerable residents are struggling even more to access fresh, nutrient-dense foods. This difficulty of access extends to agricultural workers who pick fruits, harvest vegetables, and process animals, and yet are not eligible for assistance and struggle with food insecurity.
The resiliency of our food community inspires us to do our work. The folks who grow, raise, and craft local foods need to know they can count on our support, in good years and in bad. Without a local food system, we’re dependent on imported food, and if that is disrupted our food stocks would only last three days.
Make local a permanent part of your life.
If 10% of households in Central Oregon spent $8 per month buying directly from a farmers versus purchasing produce from a commercial grocery store, we would invest $775,000 into our local economy, create 13 jobs and provide $263,000 in wages for Central Oregonians.