Food Systems

Community Food Systems

Central Oregon is one of the fastest growing regions in the US.  This increase in population and change in socioeconomic demographics has produced a higher demand on regional communities for fresh and locally produced agricultural goods and services. COIC is working with a collaborative network to develop a sustainable food system to integrate food production, processing, distribution, and consumption, focusing on locally produced goods.

The core services of our Regional Food System program are to provide:

  • Feasibility and Pre-Feasibility:assist with the collection of critical data and perform analysis
  • Project Development:  assist in transitioning projects from the feasibility stage to the operational phase
  • Marketing and Outreach: assist community education and outreach

Current Projects

Farm Share Program

COIC provides subsidies for Community Support Agriculture (CSA) shares to limited income residents through local farms and Agricultural Connections.  This program is a cost-sharing program available to residents who live at or below 185% of the federal poverty income limit.  Participants receive a subsidy on the total cost per share per week up to a maximum amount per year.  For more information and an application download the following:

Central Oregon Farm Share Program
Central Oregon Farm Share Application 2014

Season Extender Grant Program

COIC is invested in increasing the ability of agricultural producers to improve their growing capacity and markets for local food with season extenders, and improve access to local food for low-income residents.  COIC is offering producers the opportunity to apply for Season Extender Grants for 2014 through the Cultivating Local Food project.  COIC’s overall goal is to increase food production opportunities and low income access to fresh food with season extenders in Central Oregon.  The expected outcomes of the program are to increase:

  • Research-based knowledge regarding starting seeds; plant care; integrated pest management; greenhouse management, design, construction, and operations including water and energy conservation strategies
  • Viability and profitability of agricultural producers
  • Local food markets for Central Oregon consumers
  • Amount of food delivered to food pantries/ banks
  • Self-reliance and confidence

Community Garden Grants

To further strengthen Central Oregon’s food security, Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC) is providing grants to fund to public community gardens throughout Central Oregon. This opportunity is part of Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council’s Cultivating Local Food project funded by the Meyer Memorial Trust to support Oregon-based food system projects. For a comprehensive manual about growing in Central Oregon, click here.

Other Projects

Growing the Market for Specialty Crop and Value-Added Producers (2012-2014)
Funded by Oregon Department of Agriculture: COIC will work in collaboration with Wy’East RC&D, OSU Extension Service and Crook County Open Campus to provide farm management workshops focused on marketing, production, fiscal and business operations and a Food Summit II (fall 2014).   This project will build upon the existing Recipe to Market program to provide tools for businesses to make profitable, market-driven decisions on how to start and grow a value-added products business.  The project will also expand the Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Oregon regional marketing campaign and membership to provide marketing materials to farmers, as well as technical assistance training and networking opportunities with food businesses.

Central Oregon Food Hub and Development Project (2012-2013)
Funded by USDA Rural Development and Farmers Market Promotion Program: COIC will lead the effort to develop a Central Oregon Food Hub project in conjunction with regional partners.  A public/private partnership model of a food hub will be developed to increase direct markets and access for Central Oregon farmers and food access for residents, particularly low-income.  For more information about the Food Hub, download the Central Oregon Food Hub Feasibility Study.  COIC will also provide agricultural producers access to technical expertise to improve linkages and provide a framework for communication between and among food businesses and agricultural suppliers.

Cultivating Local Food Project (2012-2014)
Funded by Meyer Memorial Trust:  COIC was awarded a 3-year grant to provide the following activities (see below).  The anticipated outcomes are: longer term improved health and awareness outcomes for our region’s population; increased farm production, profitability, and access to direct markets; increased job retention and creation for food related businesses; and increased outreach and marketing for local producers and consumers.

Enhance Existing Community Gardens and Food Skills Education
COIC provides grants to existing public community gardens to increase their capacity and to improve outreach to low-income residents.  On-site food skills workshops are provided by OSU Extension Service on how to prepare seasonal garden foods directly from the garden. For more information, click here.

Enhance Food Production through Season Extenders
COIC and OSU Extension Service are partnering to build a demonstration greenhouse at the Deschutes County Extension Service office.  Workshops will teach farmers and gardeners how to construct a sturdy, effective greenhouses utilizing common materials and keeping total expense very affordable.  Grants will be provided to participants to assist with the capital costs of building a greenhouse; in return, participants will provide a certain amount of food grown in the greenhouse to local food banks.

Increase Transportation and Distribution Options for Local Food
COIC is working with Cascade Couriers to increase distribution options for local producers, and supply and access for consumers.  Cascade Couriers picks up and delivers local food products throughout Central Oregon.

Farm Share Program
COIC provides subsidized Community Supported Agriculture shares to low-income residents.

Buy Fresh Buy Local Regional Marketing Campaign
In partnership with the National FoodRoutes Network and the Central Oregon Food Policy Council, COIC has established a Central Oregon Buy Fresh Buy Local (BFBL) campaign to provide a common vision of local food purchasing options in Central Oregon while providing greater awareness for low income residents.

Central Oregon Food Policy Council
COIC helped found the COFPC whose vision is to lead the effort to achieve a sustainable and just food system in Central Oregon. Their strategies include: Healthy Food Access, Public Policy Advocacy and Networking and Knowledge Sharing.  For more information visit this website.

Previous Projects

Farmers Market Accepting Oregon Trail and Debit Cards
Funded by USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program COIC helped to promote and create sustainable farmers markets in the Central Oregon by increasing consumer and farmer participation in farmers markets; expanding access to markets by providing Electronic Benefit Transfer machines which accept SNAP benefits; and providing a marketing campaign.

Assessments And Studies

Food Hub Feasibility Study
Funded by USDA Rural Development: COIC conducted a study was to assess the capacity of the region to support a local food hub – defined as a centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution and marketing of regionally produced food products.  A food hub in our region could provide the following systems: aggregation of food products to be delivered to restaurants or grocers; cold/freezer storage for bulk meats for Community Supported Agriculture; and centralized location for pick-up and drop off delivery system.  These systems will narrow the gaps in the flow of food from the source to the consumer.
Download the Central Oregon Food Hub Feasibility Study

Meat Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Feasibility Study
Funded by USDA Rural Development: Production of agricultural products for value-added products in niche markets is new for Central Oregon. With limited infrastructure and access to the urban marketplace, producers are determining their options for accessing new markets.  COIC partnered with OSU Extension Service and a fifth-generation rancher to analyze the feasibility of developing a meat CSA in Central Oregon, along with the possibility of expanding and cooperating with multiple ranches. This study found that marketing beef through a CSA or a Buying Club is feasible and profitable. Download the Meat CSA Study

Central Oregon Community Food Assessment
The Central Oregon Community Food Assessment, Pioneering a Local Food System in Central Oregon, an initiative of Wy’East Resource Conservation & Development in partnership with COIC, NeighborImpact, and OSU Extension Service was completed in 2010. This study documented food, farm and nutrition issues to inform future change actions towards increased food security.  This effort was coordinated throughout Central Oregon with consumers, farmers, low-income individuals, planners, food businesses and institutions, governmental, private and non-profit organizations.  Through this collaborative process we incorporated every sector of the food industry. Download the Study

Central Oregon Community Garden Manual
This resource provides a list of community gardens; planting, growing and harvesting food; and other valuable resources including fundraising opportunities. Download file here.

For more information please contact:

Katrina Van Dis
Contact by Email
Phone: 541-504-3307 

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.