Food Security Coalition

The primary goals of the coalition are to reduce hunger and strengthen the local food system in the Columbia River Gorge. The outcomes of this initiative will include a comprehensive, regional response to local food access, farm, and nutrition issues. The Coalition is a diverse set of stakeholders working to advance a common agenda: more healthy local food for all.

Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.

- World Food Summit, 1996

Our Mission: 

We cultivate partnerships, build understanding and take action to create an equitable local food system in which all people have access to nutritious and culturally appropriate food.

Our Vision: 

We envision a thriving community, where all people are nourished by a just and abundant local food system.

Our Commitment to Equity: 

We commit to creating a just, equitable local food system based on solidarity and dignity. We acknowledge that the current food system is built and dependent upon the oppression of historically excluded communities. We will confront the systemic injustices that create and perpetuate poverty and hunger.

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How did the Coalition come about?

In 2016, Governor Kate Brown officially designated Gorge Food Security as an Oregon Solutions project and appointed Ken Bailey (Vice-President and Shareholder, Orchard View Farms and a Governor’s Regional Solutions Committee member) and Mark Thomas (Director of Mission Integration and Spiritual Care, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital) as co­-conveners to lead a team of producers, distributors, social service agencies, health care providers and community members to create a Coalition to cooperatively decrease hunger and increase access to quality food throughout the Columbia River Gorge. Inherent to these goals is strengthening the entire Columbia Gorge food system from producers to consumers. The project team participants represented a cross-section of the Hood River, Klickitat, Sherman, Skamania and Wasco county communities. 

 

At the conclusion of the Oregon Solutions process in 2016 the Columbia Gorge Food Security Coalition was formally established with over 20 original community members. Between 2016 – 2019 coalition membership expanded to over 40 member organizations. Gorge Grown Food Network was identified by the group as the agency best-positioned to lead the effort. A Steering Committee formed to define next steps in early 2016 with representatives from the health care sector, Oregon Food Bank, Columbia Gorge Health Council and Gorge Grown.

 

The primary goal of the Steering Committee has been to  serve as an ongoing communication and facilitation structure to keep the work of the Coalition in alignment towards the goal of filling the identified gaps in the food system to “serve the entire food system, from producers to consumers.” 

Who's Involved?

  • Area Agency on Aging
  • Azure Standard
  • Columbia Gorge Health Council
  • Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
  • Community Enrichment for Klickitat & Skamania County
  • Community Harvest Co-op
  • DHS Self-Sufficiency Program
  • FISH Food Bank
  • FISH and Spirit of Grace Community Garden
  • Fresh Start Culinary Arts Program
  • Gorge Grown Food Network
  • Gorge Rural Farmers Market Network

  • Hood River County Health Department
  • Klickitat County Health Department
  • Klickitat County Senior Services
  • Mid-Columbia Medical Center and Clinics
  • North Central Public Health District
  • North Wasco County School District
  • One Community Health
  • Orchard View Cherries, Inc.
  • Oregon Child Development Coalition
  • Oregon Department of Human Services
  • Oregon Food Bank
  • OSU Extension Service
  • PacificSource

  • Port of The Dalles
  • Providence Health and Services- Hood River
  • Rockford Grange
  • Skamania County Senior Services
  • Skyline Hospital
  • Small i Farm
  • Spirit of Grace Church Volunteer Garden
  • The Next Door, Inc.
  • Washington Gorge Action Programs
  • Washington State University Extension Services
  • White Salmon Gleaners
  • Zion Lutheran Church

How does the Coalition work together?

More info coming soon!

The Problem: 

1 in 3 people are hungry. Over 98% of food consumed in the Gorge is imported. We need a resilient, inclusive food system.

Current Status: 

The Coalition currently meets quarterly in January, April, July and October. In between, ad-hoc, action-based groups meet to coordinate and plan projects to improve food security in the region. A steering committee meets monthly to plan, coordinate and keep the group’s efforts on track. Contact jordan@gorgegrown.com for information on joining one of these groups.

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Coalition Achievements
  • Collaboration between tribal members, the Department of Human Services and the Oregon Food Bank led to the beginning of monthly deliveries of produce and food to Celilo Village.
  • Orchard View Farms and Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital split the cost of a $1,000 freezer for a Cascade Locks site providing meals to people experiencing hunger.
  • Gorge Grown Food Network organized farmers and gleaners to donate hundreds of pounds of produce regularly to the Cascade Locks Food Banks.
  • Co-convener Ken Bailey and Orchard View Farms donated 14,000 pounds of cherries per week to the Oregon Food Bank and other food distributors
  • North Wasco County School District, with the help of the Oregon Food Bank, is exploring the possibility of creating a food pantry in Wahtonka Community School
  • The Oregon Food Bank will soon host an informational seminar about school pantries for other schools and districts who are interested in the region.
  • Oregon Food Bank hosted a listening session in Cascade Locks to learn more from the community about food access in the area
  • A number of communities in the area are developing new summer meals programs, backpack programs and community meals
  • The Dalles is now funding the Power of Produce program for its Farmers Market, which provides tokens to children to purchase produce at the market
  • A Food Security Coalition volunteer is organizing a restaurant-owners working group to explore restaurants’ potential to address food insecurity in their communities and employees
  • Nutrition educators throughout the Gorge have begun meeting to increase coordination and communication, and have begun developing a Food Hero training for food bank outreach, WIC tours, and SNAP Education tours
  • OSU Extension held its first meeting of community garden managers in the Gorge. Over 35 people attended, generating great momentum and grant-writing
  • A new Veggie Rx program is being launched in Sherman County to improve food security and access to fresh vegetables in the most rural part of the Gorge
  • Spirit of Grace Garden, a volunteer-based food production garden that grows over 2,000 lbs of produce for the FISH Food Bank annually, has reached out to the Coalition network for votes in competitive grant process which would help support the garden’s work.
Meeting Minutes
Coalition Resources
Our Coalition in the News

Saving the Family Farm, Savor the Gorge, Hood River News

Food Security Coalition Starts Work, Hood River News

Community Organizations Join Forces to Reduce Hunger in the Gorge, Hood River News

Interview of Mark Thomas, Oregon Solutions co-convener, on the Mid-Columbia Today Show

Group Addresses Hunger, The Dalles Chronicle

Food Resource Map

** Check out our Food Assistance page to search for resources by category.

Coalition Partner Map

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For more information contact jordan@gorgegrown.com
This program is funded by Meyer Memorial Trust, the Columbia Gorge Health Council, The Oregon Community Foundation, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital and The Collins Foundation.