About Us

Gorge Grown Food Network (GGFN) is a web of individuals and organizations working to build a vibrant local food system. We serve 5 counties in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon and Washington.

We are farmers, eaters, policy-makers, educators, healthcare providers, chefs, grocers, makers, and food enthusiasts. Collectively, we aim to ensure that everyone who lives here has access to fresh, healthy, local food, and that farmers have the skills, support, and infrastructure they need to succeed. We pride ourselves on being nimble and inclusive, and crafting programs that truly serve the needs of our unique community.

How we began

 

In 2006, a group gathered together to watch the film “The True Cost of Food”.  Those innovating people had a vision for a robust local food system, and they identified the need for better access to locally grown produce through bigger farmers markets, ethically processed meat, school garden based education, and more. Many of these leaders are still at the forefront of the Gorge’s local food movement, a true network led by dozens of individuals and organizations across all sectors.  As our food system grows stronger and more resilient, our goals deepen and adapt as needed.

Organization Structure

 

Our work is directly shaped by our community. Here are a few examples:

The Farmers’ Advisory Committee

 

identifies needs and priorities to support local farmers. For example, farmers advised GGFN to write a grant for a series of workshops on hoop house management for season extension. This group consists of producers from throughout the gorge and we meet bi-annually.

The GGFN Farmers Market Advisory Committee

 

makes key decisions about GGFN’s 3 main markets, including market locations, design, balance between food and craft, marketing & promotion, and market dates. This group consists of market vendors, shoppers, GGFN farmers market staff, GGFN board members, and anyone passionate about helping the markets grow. They meet regularly during the winter, and serve as a sounding board when market issues arise year round.

The Community Advisory Council

 

of the Columbia Gorge Health Council is comprised of 50% Medicaid recipients. This Council conducted a thorough assessment of hunger in the Gorge in 2014, and has deemed food security as a top priority for our region. The group informs the priorities of the Coordinated Care Organization and 30 other stakeholders who gather monthly to collaborate on ensuring better health for all. 

 

During the winter months GGFN hosts “Community Conversations” on various topics from gleaning to increasing channels for marketing local food. 15 – 80 community members gather to shape and hone our programming from the ground up over the course of several open meetings annually. We eat, drink, network, consider crops to grow, and work towards our goals, together. Read more here. 

Our Approach

Increase Supply

GGFN strives to support our local producers by bolstering markets and business development. We provide technical training for farmers and makers such as growing-season extension, effective marketing, and branding. We link beginning farmers to available land and broker relationships between institutional buyers, farmers, chefs, schools and manufacturers seeking local ingredients.

Example:  Producer Working Groups

Increase Access & Demand

GGFN aims to ensure equal access to quality food for all.  We have developed a local food marketing campaign (link to Why Shop at Your Local Farmers Market document) including Mobile Markets, a Healthy Cornerstore Initiative, and the Who’s Your Farmer directory. GGFN and partners hold frequent workshops to educate consumer about the value of local food and how to prepare it. GGFN manages 3 farmers markets and support 6 others via the Rural Farmers Market Network.

Example: Mercado del Valle

Empower & Mobilize

GGFN believes in a collaborative approach to building a resilient, inclusive food system. Through partnerships with dozens of key organization through our Food Security Coalition, School Garden Network, Community Food Leaders program, and Coordinated Care Organization we aim to create lasting change through collective impact.

Example: Veggie Rx Program