(Photo above by Joshua Langlais)
Roughly one out of every eight Americans is considered food insecure, meaning that at times they are not certain they could get enough food to meet their family’s nutritional needs. To improve food security in Central Oregon, the non-profit, High Desert Food & Farm Alliance (HDFFA) received a three-year grant for $362,000 from USDA through their Community Food Projects (CFP) program. These grants give low-income communities the tools and resources they need to become self-sufficient in meeting their food needs while also responding to local food access, farm, and nutritional issues.
HDFFA was the only recipient in the state of Oregon and is excited to implement their project entitled, “Growing it Forward”. The project has multiple initiatives all centered around supporting our food system. “These grant funds will be used to purchase season extenders for farmers so they can grow more food for our community, and to work with NeighborImpact to provide a mobile food truck that will travel to Crook and Jefferson counties to deliver more fresh and healthy foods”, stated Katrina Van Dis, HDFFA’s Executive Director.
Over the next three years, HDFFA will develop projects such as ready-made local produce bags with recipes for food pantry clients, provide cooking classes in seven communities, and develop a food recovery and waste reduction program with local institutions. “This project is only possible with the support and collaboration of our community partners such as NeighborImpact and Seed to Table, two non-profits focused on providing more food to low-income families”, stated Van Dis.
The non-profit education farm, Seed to Table Oregon, is located in the community of Sisters and grows food that is delivered to local food pantries. In an effort to incorporate more fresh foods into meals, HDFFA will create ready-to-go meal bags that have simple recipes and Savory Spice Shop spices that can then be coupled with foods available at the pantry and from the farm. “The partnership will help all community members eat healthy food no matter what they earn financially.” stated Audrey Tehan, Executive Director of Seed to Table Oregon. Everyone deserves to have fresh, convenient meals whether they are delivered to your house in a box or put together at a local pantry, and this is an easy way to make it accessible to everyone.
Supporting a sustainable community food system is at the root of HDFFA’s mission, to support a healthy and vibrant food and farm network through education, collaboration, and inclusivity. A food system is the path that food travels from field to fork. It includes the growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consuming, and disposing of food.
For more info on food systems or to get involved visit www.hdffa.org