Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
- World Food Summit, 1996
The primary goals of the coalition are to reduce hunger and strengthen the local food system in the Columbia River Gorge. The outcomes of this initiative will include a comprehensive, regional response to local food access, farm, and nutrition issues.
What is it?
A diverse set of stakeholders working to advance a common agenda: More healthy local food for all.
1 in 3 people are hungry. Over 98% of food consumed in the Gorge is imported. We need a resilient, inclusive food system.
How did it come about?
The group of 30+ stakeholders was initially convened by the Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon in April 2015. The Oregon Food Bank then convened a second meeting to identify some general needs, goals, and objectives for the region.
Gorge Grown Food Network was identified by the group as the agency best-positioned to lead the nascent effort. A Steering Committee formed to define next steps in early 2016 with representatives from the health care sector, Oregon Food Bank, Columbia Gorge Health Council and Gorge Grown. We applied for professional facilitation from Oregon Solutions (a program in the National Policy Consensus Center that facilitates collaborative solutions to community issues). Governor Kate Brown approved the project and the kick-off event was in May 2016.
The Oregon Solutions community-strategic planning process took 6 months and resulted in a Declaration of Cooperation: an agreement signed by each participant outlining the roles and resources committed by each partner.
The Coalition currently meets quarterly in January, April, July and October. In between, two ongoing work groups meet to coordinate and plan projects to improve food security in the region. The Direct Service and Engagement work group is focused on collecting input from food insecure populations, as well as reaching out to new partners to collaborate on projects to improve food access. They are also working to comprehensively inventory current food resources in the region, identify gaps, and work together to fill gaps in services. The Food Infrastructure group is focused on projects which strengthen the local food system through infrastructure development and improvement. A steering committee meets monthly to plan, coordinate and keep the group’s efforts on track. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information on joining any of these groups.
Food Security Coalition in the News:
Food Security Coalition Starts Work, Hood River News
Community Organizations Join Forces to Reduce Hunger in the Gorge, Hood River News
Interview of Mark Thomas, Oregon Solutions co-convener, on the Mid-Columbia Today Show
Group Addresses Hunger, The Dalles Chronicle
Food Access and Assistance in the Gorge
Solving hunger in our region would be an impossible task for any one organization to take up alone. But I believe that we can and will address hunger in the Gorge in powerful ways by aligning our organizational will and resources. Between us, and through really listening to the people experiencing the need, we have the resources, creativity and trust to make the Columbia Gorge a place where hunger is not part of the experience of poverty.
—Mark Thomas, Providence Hospital
Partner Agencies and Organizations:
For more information contact email@example.com
This program is funded by The Oregon Community Foundation and Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital and The Collins Foundation.