Updates from the Oregon Community Food Systems Network. 
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September 2021 Monthly Newsletter
Fall Convening Planning

The Fall 2021 Convening will be remote and take place in November over two days. We need your help in figuring out the optimal dates and the topics that are most top of mind. 

Please complete the Convening Survey by Wednesday 9/22.

For many of us, Zoom fatigue is real. However, it is the safest way for us to stay connected as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. If you would like to share ideas on how to virtually engage differently or join a planning meeting, please reach out to Shin at

Beginner Farmer and Rancher Convening
Register for the BFR Working Group Convening on Sept. 27th & 28th, 2021 at the Menucha Retreat Center in Corbett, OR.
  • A farm tour and site visit to see beginning farmer education in action
  • Listening session with the USDA and other farm service providers
  • Virtual Tour of the new online Equity Literacy Curriculum
  • A review of 2021 achievements and a look at lessons learned from the Food Charter presentations as we plan out goals and objectives for 2022 and beyond
  • A discussion about re-structuring this Working Group, along with the Access to Land team
  • Networking, relationship building, and peer-to-peer sharing 
  • A Brag & Swag Table
  • And some tasty food of course!

Gathering and Covid-19:

We understand that we are not through the global pandemic yet and that Covid-19 is once again on the rise in many locations and that these are uncertain times. Menucha Retreat Center and the BFR Working Group will be following Multnomah County and State of OR guidelines as they change. We will also offer some of the sessions online, if possible, for those who cannot travel. Read more on Menucha’s latest Covid-19 policies here.
Breaking Down the Bylaws
OCFSN's first set of bylaws were approved by the 34 initial member organizations in 2016. They have been updated since then, as the Network has evolved, and approved by members. You can read the current bylaws here

Starting this newsletter, we'll share info and backstory about different parts of the bylaws. If you have a specific section you'd like us to cover, please email us at

This month's focus will be explaining the formation and history of working groups.


Working groups, in many ways, are the driving force of the network and how most member organizations engage with OCFSN. During the first OCFSN Convening in 2015, when the network first launched, participants from the 34 member organizations identified and agreed to dig into four issue priorities:
  1. SNAP Match
  2. Veggie Rx
  3. Access to Land
  4. Wholesale Market Development
These became the initial working groups of the network. Over the years, we've added and transformed working groups. In 2016, we added the Beginning Farmer Rancher Working Group, Policy Committee, and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee. Wholesale Market Development dissolved and later re-formed as the Oregon Food Hub Network.

In the OCFSN bylaws, there are two types of working groups:
  1. Process Working Groups focus on supporting the network's organizational development and goals or shared needs of member organizations for organizational development or capacity-building.
    • These are the DEI Committee & Policy Committee. (A bit of a misnomer as these are both technically process working groups according to our bylaws.)
  2. Content Working Groups focus on issues identified by OCFSN members as priorities for collective planning and action.
    • These are  Access to Land, Beginning Farmer and Rancher, SNAP Match, Oregon Food Hub Network, and Veggie Rx. 
As budgets and capacity allow, OCFSN also provides coordination, administrative support, and other benefits to working groups. For its first few years, OCFSN was fortunate to have a RARE Americorps position doing this, as OCFSN Member Services Coordinator (Lauren Johnson was the most recent, 2018-2019).

Recently, Shin was brought on to help with scheduling, managing logistics, and preparing minutes for calls and meetings. We also allocated a small amount of funding for each working group to help cover expenses like travel, meetings, trainings, and participation stipends.

The number of working groups has stayed pretty consistent over the years and there is no limit on the number of Working Groups. 

What is the process of creating a new working group?

OCFSN member organizations may self-organize to propose a working group at any time by submitting an application and list of interested participants to the Leadership Team. As needed, the Leadership Team may also propose the formation of working groups and invite member participation.

Proposals will be reviewed by the Leadership Team at a regular meeting using the following criteria for evaluation:

  • Clarity of proposal
  • Service to community food systems goals
  • Number of OCFSN members participating (minimum 4 active OCFSN members)
  • Degree of overlap with existing work groups
  • The network's administrative capacity and budget
Can working groups include non-OCFSN members?

Yes, while working groups are predominantly made up of OCFSN member organizations, members of an established working group may invite participation from other community members outside of network membership.

The status of working groups will be assessed annually. 

Working groups can be dissolved at will by the participants or at the request of the Leadership Team if fewer than four OCFSN members are actively participating.

We hope that provides some clarity about OCFSN working groups. Please let us know if you have questions and tell us what other pieces of the bylaws you'd like us to break down in the future. 
Leadership Team Elections

Elections for the leadership team are right around the corner! We’ll cover the leadership team in next month’s “Breaking Down the Bylaws” section and the call for nominations will open in October. In the meantime, please reach out to if you have any questions.

OCFSN Events Calendar

The “OCFSN Events Calendar” is a Google Calendar created with the intent of giving all members visibility to events happening across the Network. This was renamed from the "OCFSN Master Calendar" I sent out last month to be cognizant of the impact and implications of unnecessarily using the world "master" especially in the food and farming industry. This article breaks down why it's a no-brainer to use alternative phrases and try not to resist change.

Currently the Leadership Team, Working Group Leads, Committee Leads, and Communications Consultant have the ability to add events. All network members can view the calendar. Please invite to any events you’d like to add to this calendar. 

Instructions for subscribing to the calendar.

Resources & Job Opportunities
Webinars on Our Radar:
  • Lessons Learned from State and County Food Systems Mapping Projects: Have you ever considered making your own food system map but didn't know where to start or what it would take to maintain? The John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future's Food policy Networks project invites you to join them for a webinar to explore food system mapping projects from three state-wide mapsMaryland, Colorado, and Ohioand a county-level map from New York... 
    • Hosted by Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

    • Date: Sept. 29th, 2021

    • Time: 11:00 am - 12:15 am PT

    • Register here
Job Opportunities:
  • OSU Extension is hiring a Small Farms/Master Gardener Coordinator for Lincoln County, to be based in Newport. Contact Emily Blume (541-648-6814, with any questions. The deadline for applications is Sept. 12. Find more info and apply here.

  • Zenger Farm is hiring for an Education Programs Manager. Find more info and apply here.
  • Oregon Food Bank opened applications for 2021-2022 Feast. Interested applicants can review the Request for Proposals and are encouraged to contact Adriana Cvitkovic (971-223-3359, before applying. Applications are due Oct. 31, 2021.
  • Rogue Farm Corps is hiring a part-time, temporary contract position to help coordinate its Changing Hands Workshop Series this winter! Deadline to apply is Sept. 17th. Find more info and apply here.
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