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Community Leaders Plot Course to End Hunger in Southeast Oregon, Southwest Idaho

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 10, 2022

COMMUNITY LEADERS PLOT COURSE TO END HUNGER IN SOUTHEAST OREGON, SOUTHWEST IDAHO

‘Western Treasure Valley Food Systems Partnership’ inaugural event brings cross-industry groups together to increase access to fresh, nutritious food throughout the region

ONTARIO, OR — Dozens of community leaders gathered at the River Bend Place housing development in Ontario this weekend for the region’s first Food Education Agriculture Solutions Together (FEAST) event. Coming together as the “Western Treasure Valley Food Systems Partnership,” leaders from 14 private and public organizations are plotting a course to end hunger in Southeast Oregon and Southwest Idaho — working to build capacity and enhance the region’s environmental, economic, social, cultural and nutritional health.

The Partnership has already set an ambitious goal to establish a Community Food Hub that will improve local access to free and affordable food for area families — along with nutrition education and support programs. The envisioned facility will be anchored by a shared-use kitchen to process, store and distribute food, along with a value chain food market. The Community Food Hub will co-locate with River Bend Place and the new Valley Family Health Care clinic, offering a one-stop-shop for community members to access a host of essential resources and services.

“This is our first FEAST event and an important step in our community-led efforts to improve food security throughout the region,” said Lindsay Grosvenor, Strategic Partnerships Program Manager at Oregon Food Bank’s Southeast Oregon Services branch in Ontario. “We hope to hold at least two more gatherings: one with our neighbors in Idaho and another closer to Nyssa and Adrian. The input we gather will fuel our feasibility study for a future Community Food Hub that’s truly accessible — a space that’s fully utilized and meets everyone’s needs.”

Food Education Agriculture Solutions Together, more commonly known as “FEAST,” is a community-led organizing process. FEAST events hosted in Oregon and across the country brings people together to build more just and resilient local food systems through community conversations and major project implementation, like the proposed Community Food Hub in Ontario.

“I honestly believe that a better understanding of food systems will open up everybody’s opportunities,” said Ariel Serrano, Coordinator Community Health and Wellbeing at St. Alphonsus Health System. “I strongly believe that food insecurity is something that can easily be solved within our community, and that our food system is stable enough and strong enough to provide for all of us.”
“I hope folks today take away an understanding that we need to build dynamic, active partnerships with each other – and others,” said Sandy Shelton, Director of Malheur Council on Aging and Community Services. “Together, we can educate the public and make active changes to support the areas of our food system that are weak.”

ABOUT WESTERN TREASURE VALLEY FOOD SYSTEMS PARTNERSHIP

The Western Treasure Valley Food Systems Partnership is a cohort of 14 organizations located in and serving communities in and around Malheur County and Southwest Idaho. The Partnership is working to establish a shared vision of an enhanced community food system, realized through concrete actions determined through community-led conversations. If you are interested in getting involved, please reach out to Lindsay Grosvenor at lgrosvenor@oregonfoodbank.org to be notified of future opportunities.

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