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

Previous Projects

WealthWorks NW Exploration Grant (July – Nov. 2014)
COIC and the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance are working to connect various parts of the local food value chain together and explore opportunities to build out and fill gaps within the chain. We were one of six recipients of this grant in the state of Oregon.  At the end of the four month grant period, each recipient will have the opportunity to secure $640,000 ($180,000 direct business investment dollars) through a second granting process to continue building out their value chain over a two year period.

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 Jefferson County Soil & Water Conservation District to provide farm management workshops focused on marketing, production, fiscal and business operations and a Food Summit II (fall 2014).   The project will also expand the Food & Farm Directory/regional marketing campaign and membership to provide marketing materials to farmers, as well as technical assistance training and networking opportunities with food businesses.

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
  • Enhance Food Production through Season Extenders
  • Increase Transportation and Distribution Options for Local Food
  • Farm Share Program
  • Regional Marketing Campaign

In partnership the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance, COIC has established a Central Oregon Food & Farm Directory to provide a resource for individuals and businesses to buy and sell locally grown and made food products in Central Oregon.  High Desert Food & Farm Alliance
COIC helped found the HDFFA whose vision is to support a community based food system in Central Oregon to increase access to fresh healthy food, support sustainable farm land-use, and foster relationships among farmers and consumers.  For more information visit this website.

Central Oregon Food Hub and Development Project (2012-2013)
Funded by USDA Rural Development and Farmers Market Promotion Program: COIC developed a Central Oregon Food Hub project in conjunction with regional partners.  A public/private partnership model of a food hub  was 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 also provided agricultural producers access to technical expertise to improve linkages and provide a framework for communication between and among food businesses and agricultural suppliers.

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.


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. Click here to be transported to the Manual

For more information please contact:

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

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