Why Central Oregon World Food Day?
In June, I was privileged to become the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance’s second Executive Director. The organization’s belief that everyone deserves good food is what attracted me to the organization and every day I’m proud of our staff, board, supporters, and volunteers on how, together, we work to make that happen.
So many of our programs are successful also because of deep partnerships and relationships with numerous other nonprofits in our community throughout Central Oregon’s tri-county reach. It got me thinking – is there a way we can collectively tell the story about why our work is so necessary and share the collaborative work we do together?
October 16 was established by the United Nations as World Food Day – a day to help raise recognition about how many people in the world face food insecurity and to serve as a call to action for each of us to consider how we can help.
This year, for the first time – and thanks to the generosity of Dave Clemens and Horizon Broadcasting Group – our community has the opportunity to recognize Central Oregon World Food Day and get to know HDFFA and ten other nonprofit organizations that are doing significant food access work throughout the region. From as far south as LaPine to as far north as Warm Springs, HDFFA and each of the nonprofits listed below provide services to help get fresh, nutritious food to those in need. And the need is deep, making the work we do together critical.
HDFFA is proud to work in collaboration and partnership with other outstanding organizations and – in fact – many of our programs could only be successful by working together. Here are a few highlights:
– HDFFA’s Grow & Give program has collected more than 40,000 lbs of fresh produce from partner farms to deliver to our regional food bank, NeighborImpact. We salute NeighborImpact’s commitment to distributing the fresh produce we provide and other food to 57 locations around Central Oregon because, like HDFFA, NeighborImpact believes everyone deserves good food.
– HDFFA’s Fresh Harvest Kit program has also grown significantly this year, thanks to our partners. Fresh Harvest Kits are “ready-to-cook meal kit,” consisting of a recipe (in both Spanish and English) and all of the ingredients needed to cook a meal for four: fresh produce, pantry staples, and a spice packet from Savory Spice. We will be distributing more than 3,500 bags with seven different partners including La Pine Community Kitchen; The Giving Plate in Bend; Warm Springs Community Action Team; ODHS, Crook County OSU Extension, and Our Savior Lutheran Church in Prineville; Kiwanis Food Bank and Wellhouse Market in Sisters. We are also piloting a partnership with Council on Aging to distribute Fresh Harvest Kits through their Meals on Wheels program throughout the Sisters. These kits in 2023 will provide more than 14,000 meals in Central Oregon, made possible by partners who, like HDFFA, believe that everyone deserves good food.
– In 2023, we also expanded our VeggieRx program. VeggieRx enrolls low-income residents who are experiencing a medical condition. A health professional can write a prescription for vegetables and have access to counseling by HDFFA’s VeggieRx Manager, a licensed, registered dietitian. The has been largely Bend-based, but currently is also being administered at the Warm Springs Community Center. VeggieRx has traditionally been a seasonal program, offering two 10-week sessions. In partnership with Locavore, we are poised to expand to the winter months too, for a year-round program. This expansion will be made possible because, like HDFFA, Locavore believes everyone deserves good food.
Please visit Horizon Broadcasting Group’s Central Oregon World Food Day page to learn more about the work some other groups are doing to address food insecurity in our region and listen for all our interviews with Dave Clemens on air from October 2-October 16.