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.
There are currently two work groups focused on creating a complete inventory of food system infrastructure and services in the five-county region. The Food Infrastructure work group is focused on inventorying and mapping cold storage resources, processing facilities, farmland, and distribution routes. The Direct Service and Engagement work group is doing the same for gleaning groups, grocery stores, food pantries, and community meals. Both groups will engage new partners and community members as they work to fill identified gaps in services and infrastructure, particularly in the most food insecure regions of the Gorge.
The full Coalition meets quarterly to discuss progress and current issues, share ideas and move their commitments to reducing food insecurity in the region forward.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
This program is funded by The Oregon Community Foundation and Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital and The Collins Foundation.