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The following is a collaborative message from the Central Oregon Food Collective to our communities:
To the Central Oregon community members who have shown up over the past few months and supported local growers at a rate we haven’t seen before, we thank you. You have driven increased sales, you have helped farmers and ranchers make up for contracts canceled due to COVID, you have helped to keep many of our farms and ranchers afloat.
We are so grateful for your support and buy-in and we need you to continue to show up every day, in good years and in bad. Farmers and ranchers plan their seasons months, if not years, in advance. Farmers invest months of finances, time and labor before their crops ever make it to market. Ranchers spend years planning and building the soil in the pastures that feed the calves that nourish local families with healthy protein.
While many farmers and ranchers were able to pivot and turn their products, formerly destined for restaurants, into Community Supported Agriculture shares, other farmers didn’t have the quantity or the capacity and were left scrambling to find new markets. Your consistent support of local groceries, farm stands and farmers’ markets makes a difference, this summer and all year round!
Tips for continuing to support locally:
1) Get to know your farmers and ranchers. Buy farm-direct when possible, through farmers’ markets, on-farm stands and through the farmers’ own websites. Look for farm stands and local, open markets. Many farms and ranches can be found in the High Desert Food and Farm Directory, available in print and online.
2) Support your local food distributors and purchase fresh food boxes or other items through their stores and warehouses.
3) Ask your favorite grocers and restaurants to support local. Suggest that they purchase from a local farmer or rancher when possible. Ask every time you go to their store or restaurant, and look for the “Get a Taste of This Place” logo that tells you you are buying Central Oregon products. Patronize and celebrate businesses who feature local, like Central Oregon Locavore, Food 4 Less and Jackson’s Corner, to name just a very few.
4) Support local nonprofits and their work in the food system. You can volunteer time, money or food donations to keep our community strong. Recurring monthly donations make a huge difference for nonprofits, no matter the amount.
5) Speak up on behalf of farmers and ranchers. Let your legislators and decision-makers know where you stand and what type of food system you want to see. Tune in to farmer advocacy groups like Friends of Family Farmers for information on how and when to weigh in.
COVID-19 will not be the last crisis our community faces, but we can be more prepared for the next one by maintaining a stronger, locally centered food system that’s central to a locally driven economy.
Agricultural Connections, contact: Elizabeth Weigand, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bend Farmers Market, contact: Mariah Truax, email@example.com
Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council, contact: Janel Ruehl, firstname.lastname@example.org
Central Oregon Locavore Nonprofit and Indoor Farmers Market, contact: Nicolle Timm-Branch, email@example.com
Friends of Family Farmers, contact: Natalie Danielson, firstname.lastname@example.org
High Desert Food and Farm Alliance, contact: Chantel Welch, email@example.com
NeighborImpact, contact: Carly Sanders: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rogue Farm Corps, contact: Gia Matzinger, email@example.com
Sakari Farms, contact: Spring Alaska Schreiner firstname.lastname@example.org
Seed to Table Oregon, contact: Audrey Tehan, email@example.com
Sisters Farmers Market, contact: Caroline Hager, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Environmental Center, contact: Denise Rowcroft, email@example.com