Author: Lauren Gwin, Oregon State University Small Farms Program
Publish Date: Spring 2017
In 2016, LBFS contracted with five small, local farms to purchase an agreed-upon dollar amount of fresh, healthy produce on a regular basis over the season. But in an important twist on a typical supply contract, LBFS did not specify exactly which crops or specific volumes of those crops. This allowed the farms valuable flexibility, in case they had any production problems or delays due to weather or other factors.
“This program was invaluable to me as a first-year farmer,” Brooke Kaye said at the Conference. “Having a guaranteed market for my produce and income early in the season helped break down some of the barriers to starting a farming operation. It was also important to me to grow great food for people who don’t often have access to local, organic produce.”
The Intentional Growing Program is just beginning its second year, with 5 local, organic farms participating (2 Linn, 3 Benton). All farms participating are within the first 5 years of operation. Based on her experience the first year, farmer Brooke plans to streamline her delivery system as well as help LBFS improve its produce storage.
The idea is simple: everyone deserves fresh, healthy food regardless of their income level. Providing local, organic produce to emergency food clients means not only dignity in the quality of food itself, but further enhances the relationship between volunteer and recipient.