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Updates from the Oregon Community Food Systems Network. 
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October 2021 Monthly Newsletter
Save the Date!
OCFSN Fall Convening

The Fall 2021 Convening will be remote and take place November 17-18th, from 10:00-3:00 both days.

Based on the convening survey, the top three things that draw you all to the Convening included:

  1. Member Updates
  2. Informal Networking
  3. Skill-sharing
We are working to cover each of these topics (and more!) and will need your help. 

There will be two 60 minute sessions dedicated to sharing Member Updates, a total of 22 total slots available. Each organization that signs up will have 5 minutes to share updates. We'd love to hear about stories of community support and resilience over the past year and the ways you need support. The Ignite style presentation model is an energizing fast-paced method that allows five slides and five minutes for each presenter. Let us know if you need help structuring your presentation. Based on interest, we may open it up to more. Sign up to present here.

We will open up online registration next week, stay tuned. 
BFR Working Group Convened in Corbett
The BRF Working Group met in Corbett at the Menucha Retreat Center for a day and a half of networking, exchanging ideas, sharing meals, hearing about the new Equity Curriculum, and hashing out the restructuring of what will become the ‘Farming for the Future’ Working Group in an attempt to bring issues that face beginning farmers and ranchers, access to land, farm viability, and agricultural resilience in Oregon together under one umbrella. The group was also able to visit Mudbone Grown and the Pathways to Farming program, as well as hear from several representatives from USDA programs and agencies. 


Mudbone Grown Farm Tour. Photo Credit: Silvia Cuesta.

A big thank you goes out to everyone who helped plan the event and to those who were able to join us (near and far) as we work out next steps and work plans for this newly configured OCFSN Working Group.
Amazing Things About
Our Members

Adelante Mujeres featured in Seeds of Success Stories

A 2016 Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) grant provided Adelante Mujeres with $343,403 to help the organization create new market channels and educate farmers through workshops on food safety and marketing. All 15 Latino participant farmers participated in CSA operations training and were able to increase their sales. Major lessons learned included the fact that small producers’ limited access to capital and land diminished their ability to produce for additional market outlets and reduced their capacity to supply the wholesale distribution.

Despite not expanding its CSA and wholesale operations due to limited infrastructure, Adelante Mujeres was able to open the Cornelius Farmers Market and began its Shared-Use Kitchen and Food Incubator Program in 2020.

Read the full feature on the USDA website.

Please email Shin at ocfsn.info@gmail.com if you have stories you’d like included in future issues of this newsletter.

Leadership Team Elections

Elections are right around the corner! 

Four of the current ten LT member terms are up at the end of this year. These include Eddie Hill, Sarah Sullivan, Katy Giombolini, and Aaron Vargas, who are eligible to serve one more 3-year term. There are also an additional 3 seats that could be filled by new applicants since the bylaws allow for a total of 13 total LT members.

Please fill out this nomination/application form and return to ocfsn.info@gmail.com by Sunday, October 31st. Most of your questions should be answered in the first half of the form but please reach out if they are not!

 

Timeline:

  • Oct 31 -   Nomination & Applications due 
  • Nov 8  -   Ballot is released (two weeks to return)
  • Nov 22 -  Ballots due
  • Dec 6 -    Announce new LT members
Breaking Down the Bylaws
This month's focus will be explaining the formation and history of the Leadership Team.

The Leadership Team is a standing committee of OCFSN. The purpose of the Leadership Team is to represent the interests of Members, to establish and guide plans, programs and activities to achieve the mission and vision, and to ensure accountability to the equity statement of OCFSN.

What do they do?

The Leadership Team is responsible for OCFSN programming and oversight of operations, including: 

  • Recruiting, welcoming, and orienting new members to OCFSN
  • Engaging Members to develop and affirm support for the vision, mission, and strategic plans
  • Creating annual work plans and budgets
  • Ensuring OCFSN has needed resources to achieve its goals
  • Providing direct oversight of any staff or contractors
  • Electing members of the Board of Directors
  • Approving working groups

In addition, the Leadership Team is expected to engage the membership to ensure that OCFSN and its working groups put OCFSN's racial equity commitments into practice. 

At a minimum, Leadership Team members are committing to 1.5-hour conference calls every month, approximately 1-3 hours a month for leadership team support between monthly conference calls, one full-day planning retreat in the Fall/Winter, and attendance at the Community Food Systems Network Convening.
 

How was it formed?

In 2015 during the first Convening, forty organizations affirmed interest in forming OCFSN and a “transition team” was recruited to guide organizational development efforts. From May 2015 to June 2016 the transition team achieved a lot, including developing a proposed structure for the network, confirming fiscal sponsorship and support from two “backbone” organizations (Oregon State University Center for Small Farms & Community Food Systems and Oregon Food Bank), drafting and approving the original OCFSN bylaws, and electing the founding OCFSN leadership team in June 2016.

The first OCFSN Leadership Team included: 

  • Sara Miller, Northeast Oregon Economic Development District (Chair)
    Greg Holmes, 1000 Friends of Oregon (Vice-chair)

  • Stacey Sobell, Ecotrust (Secretary)

  • Katrina Van Dis, Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (Treasurer)

  • Katie Furia, Farmers Market Fund

  • Kasandra Griffin, Upstream Public Health

  • Lauren Gwin, Oregon State University Center for Small Farms & Community Food Systems

  • Spencer Masterson, Oregon Food Bank

  • Wendy Siporen, THRIVE: The Rogue Initiative for a Vital Economy
     

Current bylaws can be reviewed here. If you have a specific section of the bylaws you'd like us to cover next, please email us at ocfsn.info@gmail.com.

Policy Capacity Report

The OCFSN Policy Capacity Assessment report contains the results of a survey launched in February 2020 and closed in April 2020. The goal of this assessment was to support OCFSN to: 

  • Learn how members are working on public policy to meet their goals;

  • Design public policy training and support that meets members where they are;

  • Identify opportunities for members to collaborate on public policy advocacy to grow a more resilient and equitable community food system.
     

Who conducted the survey?
Two research assistants from Oregon State University’s Policy Analysis Lab: Alicia Ward and Victoria Venable with the support of Lauren Gwin from the Center for Small Farms & Community Food Systems. 
 

Who participated?
36 individuals completed the survey, each from a member organization.

What was done with the findings?
The initial findings were presented to the OCFSN Policy Committee in June 2020 and the final report finished by Lauren Gwin. 

What did we learn? 
At a high level, we learned that OCFSN members – together – have moderate capacity to influence policy, with some major variation among members in specific areas. We saw consistent capacity in collaborative efforts, especially in partnership-building, information sharing, and raising awareness within and beyond the network.
 

  • Our Strengths: Organizations showed a consistent capacity in collaborative efforts when organizing efforts are organized as a network. For example, 83% of responding organizations showed at least some capacity for mobilizing stakeholders and community members on policy issues and 90% of member organizations reported having raised awareness of their policy issues to agencies, officials, and the general public. 96% of organizations sought guidance and information from other organizations or partners resulting in strong knowledge and awareness throughout the network.
  • Room for Growth: About 50% of organizations were not designating any portion of their general funds to advocacy despite being supportive of advocacy work. Limited capacity was identified in areas such as regularly assessing their own policy capacity, dedicating funds or personnel to lobbying activities, and engaging in policy advocacy at local levels.

 

What do we do next with this information?

The Policy Committee’s 2021-2022 goals include focusing on two of these growth areas: first, working on a plan to expand the number and diversity of stakeholders as needed to achieve policy objectives and, second, becoming known to Oregon legislative staff as a resource.

Please reach out to Lauren Gwin at Lauren.Gwin@oregonstate.edu with any questions.

Resources & Job Opportunities
Events on Our Radar:
  • Train the Trainer Program: A Climate Resilience Toolbox for Working with Oregon's Farmer's and Ranchers (Virtual)
    • When: Nov 2-4, 10:00-12:00 and 1:00-3:00 PM

    • Audience: Oregon Agricultural Technical Services Professionals

    • Register here
  • 5th National Farm Viability Conference (Virtual)
    • When: Throughout October 2021

    • Hosted by: Oregon Tilth and OSU's Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems

    • Agenda and registration here. Scholarships are available upon request

Job Opportunities:
  • High Desert Farm and Food Alliance is hiring a full-time Program Director to oversee and manage the following programs: Food Access, VeggieRx, Agricultural Support, and the annual Food & Farm Directory. This role will begin in January 2022. Based in Bend, OR. Find more info and apply here.

  • Zenger Farm is hiring a Farm Program Manager. Please fill out the application form and attach a resume and optional cover letter here. Applicants will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Final deadline to apply is November 15th, 9am. If you have additional questions please email apply@zengerfarm.org.

  • Portland Fruit Tree Project is hiring a Fruit Tree Care Program Coordinator. Apply by Nov. 1, 2021. Find more info and apply here.

  • Oregon Tilth is hiring a Client Relationship and Retention Specialist. Apply by Oct. 13, 2021. Find more info and apply here.

  • Oregon Food Bank is hiring a Farm Program Manager based in Portland. The role will be hybrid through Dec. 2021. Deadline has been expanded. Find more info and apply here.
  • USDA Nomination for the Equity Commission and the Subcommittee on Agriculture membership is open to the public and any interested person or organization may nominate qualified individuals for membership. Nominations accepted through Oct 27, 2021.

Funding:
  • Pandemic Response and Safety (PRS) Grant Program provides grants to food processors, distributors, farmers markets, and producers to respond to coronavirus, including for measures to protect workers against novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID–19). Listening sessions are available online.

    • Important Dates:

      • Application Period Opens: Coming in early October 2021

      • Application Period Closes: 45 Days from Application Period Open Date

      • All applications submitted before the deadline will be considered for funding. Applications will not be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please reach out to Shin at ocfsn.info@gmail.com with any questions regarding the content of this or future newsletters.

Copyright © 2021 Oregon Community Food Systems Network, All rights reserved.


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