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My name is Jenny Holmes and I serve as the Environmental Ministries Director at Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
IFFP is a multi-faceted program! Here s our mission statement
Food is a way to bring people together. Many of our family and religious celebrations involve breaking bread together. Communities of faith are generally concerned about social justice issues and around the issue of food this can include ensuring everyone has access to healthy food and that farm workers receive fair wages for their work and have good working conditions.
This is the menu of options for that communities to engage in building and bringing more justice and health to the local food system. IFFP has been documenting what we have been doing and creating handbooks, factsheets and workshops to help congregations in others areas of our state, and nationally, benefit from what we have learned so they can use and adapt these ideas to their unique situations.
These are the types of partnerships IFFP has worked on developing between congregations and farmers. We work mostly with immigrant and new farmers to create these partnerships.
One type of model that has been used successfully in Portland is the Farm Stand. This is where a farmer sells good such as flowers or produce in a faith community setting. The farm stand generally takes place before or after the service. It can be very rewarding to practice hospitality by opening up the farm stand to the surrounding community as well. We have one church in Portland that has their farmer table outside so people walking by are able to see it and stop by to shop.
Community Supported Agriculture is a set up that has been gaining more and more popularity. The way a CSA works is the customer pays for a share at the beginning of the season and a box of produce is delivered each week to a set location, such as a faith community. The members of the csa pick up their produce for the week. By paying upfront the customer shares in the risk of farming and the farmer is given a guaranteed income for the work they are doing.
A buying club, at its least formal, may be a group of neighbors or friends buying half a pig or cow to divide among their freezers, or several flats of fruit for jam. What I’ll be talking about today is a regular delivery of produce from a local farmer to a central location. Members place orders and pay in advance and pick up what they ordered the same day it is delivered. We now have buying clubs in both Portland and Corvallis. People like being able to order as much or as little as they want.
Our buying club in Portland is at Holy Redeemer (Rosa Parks and Vancouver) and is supported by a number of congregations in NE Portland. It is great to see a diverse group of people come together to purchase healthy, local food.
Introducing the farmer to the congregation
Signs in different languages
In order to make the program successful you will want to continue to let your congregation know what is happening, perhaps you will need to educate about specific vegetables that the farmer is bring but folks don’t know what to do with them.
For the farmer table tracking the number of customers and the farmer’s sales is important to evaluating the success at the end of the season.
Special events are important to maintain interest. You might think about having a cooking class, a potluck or visiting the farm.
You all know these things, but here’s a short list of benefits we see in operating these projects.
Often congregational kitchens are underused.
Often one of the barriers that people face when trying to eat healthy is not having the skills needed to prepare healthy meals we try to not only offer access to fresh produce but also give people the skills they need to make meals.
In Corvallis we have been able to offer a number of canning classes at minimal cost. Teaching people how to preserve produce.
New resource coming out-Creating Opportunity Through Micro-Enterprise, Faith Kitchens as Micro Enterprise Incubators- In Corvallis FUMC has set up a micro-enterprise program where low-income individuals who are starting up small food related businesses are able to use the church kitchen at a minimal cost to do food preparation.
Holy Redeemer, Kenilworth Presbyterian, St. Andrews Lutheran
Started a community garden in Corvallis and continue to work with population that serve the Latino population
Sometimes congregations are the best place to reach a specific demographic in an area because the congregation is a hub for not only workship but for social and cultural life and many other things.
Don’t forget to celebrate and appreciate the relationships.