Community Food System2020-10-21T11:31:35-07:00

Community Food System

Ending hunger means that everyone has access to healthy food. Marion Polk Food Share works to create a strong community food system that ensures food security for all.

A community food system is the sum of all activities required to make food available for each of us, including growing and farming, processing, distribution, consumption and waste. We work with communities to identify long-term, community-based solutions to food insecurity and connect with local farmers and food processors in order to maintain a thriving community food system.

FEAST and community-based teams

Food, Education, Agriculture Solutions Together (FEAST) is an event that brings a community together for a conversation about their local food system. Neighbors come together to identify and work towards solutions to build a healthier food system. The FEAST model was developed by the Oregon Food Bank. As a result of the FEAST process, Marion Polk Food Share is facilitating the formation of local action teams in specific communities that work to address food access challenges. Projects vary based on the assets, opportunities and challenges within a given community. Currently, the Food Share is facilitating community-based teams that are working to strengthen community food systems in Grand Ronde and Woodburn.

Regional Food System Organizing

One of the outcomes of the Community Food Assessment was the need for regional leadership of community food system efforts that creates space for collaboration and communication across the Mid-Valley.

In February 2015 we partnered with Willamette University, OSU Extension, and others to host the first Mid-Willamette Valley Food Summit. Over 180 community members came together to learn about local food efforts in Marion and Polk counties and engage in exciting collaborative plans to improve our community food system. To view the agenda and description of the breakout session click here.

Community Food Assessment Report

Our Community Food System program began with the creation of the Community Food Assessment. The CFA is a grassroots research and community building process that focuses on both understanding strengths and challenges the of the local food system; the goal is to improve the food system for the future.

This was accomplished with a combination of community organizing events, interviews, surveys, and informal conversations. Overall, the process rested on the premise that a community knows what will and won’t work for it. Community FEAST (Food, Education, Agriculture, Solutions, Together) events were held in Silverton, Independence, Stayton, Woodburn and Grand Ronde. The role for the first year was largely to listen to community ideas, understand challenges, and create connections between existing groups.

This report outlines the information captured in one year in regard to the rural food system in our region. It was created by a Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) in conjunction with AmeriCorps service members in partnership with the University of Oregon and the Oregon Food Bank, and Marion Polk Food Share.


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