Friends of Family Farmers is working with farmers and ranchers who are reclaiming agriculture in communities throughout Oregon. Here you can find examples of the people, their great ideas and the issues they are facing as they work to strengthen Oregon’s food system by farming in a way that is socially and environmentally responsible.
Oregon’s Family Farmers
Oregon farmers produce over 220 different crops and, unlike other places in the country, almost 85% of Oregon’s nearly 40,000 farms are still small to medium sized, family-owned enterprises.
In addition to providing jobs and income to local people, family farmers support small businesses by purchasing goods and service within their communities.
See how farmers around the state are providing us with food produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.
The Agricultural Reclamation Act
In the Fall of 2009, FoFF staff and volunteers crisscrossed the state, hosting community meetings and providing farmers and rural residents with tools and techniques to organize in their communities.
These communities identified the major challenges and opportunities that exist for family-scale agriculture to thrive in Oregon. In February 2010, we hosted our first Farmer and Rancher Delegation. At this event, family farmers and ranchers from communities throughout the state helped draft the Agricultural Reclamation Act, a statewide platform for food and family farming in Oregon.
In our community conversations, we discussed barriers to rebuilding a local/regional food economy, farm viability, developing the next generation of farmers, regulations and food safety, and how the Oregon Department of Agriculture can support family farmers. All of these are becoming increasingly necessary as energy prices sky-rocket and industrial food safety concerns are encouraging consumers to look for alternative food choices closer to home.
Though it is clear that the demand for locally grown food is only increasing, farmers and ranchers around the state are facing many challenges as they work to get their food to Oregon families. One-by-one, FoFF is working to break down these barriers, while taking action to change policies and rebuild the infrastructure that is necessary to reclaim our food and agricultural systems in Oregon.
You are Talking, We are Listening
In early 2008, FoFF staff began the process of listening to farmers, rural residents and local food advocates. This was our first attempt to gain first-hand knowledge of the on-the-ground issues farmers face as they attempt to run an economically-viable, yet environmentally and socially responsible agricultural business in Oregon.
We recorded what we collected during these listening sessions and the document is now available online. This is not an exhaustive list; rather it an effort to find areas of common ground around the issues faced by farmers, ranchers and other participants in Oregon’s food system.
In July of 2008, we took what we had heard to the Oregon Board of Agriculture meeting, and this is what we communicated>>
These early listening sessions were the inspiration for the Agicultural Reclamation Act (see above), and is an ongoing process. If your community is interested in hosting a listening session, please contact us.