About the Organization

The Rogue Valley Food System Network is a collaboration of organizations, agencies, businesses and individuals committed to working together to create a secure, sustainable food system that is accessible to all.

Network MISSION

To be a conduit of resources and bring stakeholders together to unite efforts, create change, and advocate for a more just and environmentally sustainable food system in Josephine and Jackson Counties.

Network VISION

The Rogue Valley is celebrated for its strong, vibrant regional food system characterized by abundant local food production, equitable food access, environmental sustainability, economic vitality, and healthy community.

History of the Network

The Meyer Memorial Trust provided funding for community food system assessments all over regions of Oregon, including Southern Oregon. Partners and community members  engaged in a year-long community engagement effort that identified food system resources and needs. Over and over, community members shared their belief that we could have a greater collective impact on our food system if there was a structure for increased information, sharing, and collaboration.

The formation of the network was a recommendation of the Jackson County Community Food Assessment. Many partners worked together to form the network and its governing council in 2014.

Since this formation, a schedule of regular meetings was established. These are attended by a dozen or more additional members of the public. As a result of outreach and publicity efforts, the original 15 partners expanded to include several dozen organizations and individuals, including a number of businesses, both counties, and several of the cities in the region.

The Council initially focused its efforts on exploring three major subject areas: access to food; healthy eating, and enhancing the local food economy. Through staff and council support, we helped design and incubate several projects, including the Healthy Corner Store initiative, a pilot healthy eating Rx program, and a wholesale market development program. 2014 ended with a highly successful public forum where more than 110 people from the local community gathered to hear about work being done by our partners to strengthen the local food economy. This led to an invitation to create our own pavilion full of displays at the 2015 and 2016 Jackson County Fair, where several thousand local residents learned about our regional food system.

Looking Forward

The Council met in the Fall of 2015 to establish priorities for work in 2016 and beyond. We reached consensus almost immediately that our focus would be to build upon our early success rather than initiating major new initiatives. Four focus areas emerged and were adopted into our 2016-2018 Strategic Plan:

  • Increase the participation and support of our constituents as we build our capacity as a trusted source of leadership, information and education;
  • Prioritize our efforts to convene critical stakeholders to assess and address challenges and connect the dots;
  • Continue to collaborate with and learn from regional efforts, and connect what is happening here to work in other communities across the state; and
  • Ensure the sustainability of the Network by securing stable funding.

For more information, or to see the full strategic plan, go here.

The Network is still focused on its original major subject areas. At the end of 2016, the Network decided to focus on the following three focus areas 1) The intersection of the cannabis industry and food production, 2) Understanding lesser known barriers to healthy eating, and 3) Wholesale development. The first of these two working groups will continue in 2018. We are convening stakeholders around these focus areas on an ongoing basis. To learn more about the working groups, go here.

We are also working with community partners on two one-the-ground projects in Josephine County – a vegetable prescription program and establishing a cooking demonstration project for food pantries.

 

Clif Bar Family Foundation       Meyer Memorial Trust  

Rogue Valley Farm to School Garden