Friends of Family Farmers was founded 17 years ago to give a voice to small and mid-size, socially and ecologically responsible farmers when they felt like there was no place for them in the system. We have grown since then to include programs like the Oregon Pasture Network and Oregon Farm Link, and we have remained accountable to our community. All our programming and advocacy work is directed by the continuous feedback of program participants and our biennial survey and focus groups. Our community has guided us and we are so proud to serve all of you.
Now we are calling on you to help us in another way. Join FoFF as a donor member this month to show your support, fund the work you care about most, and keep building the food and farm system you want to live in. Whether you are a farmer, community member, or food advocate, this is a place where we can all come together to achieve our shared goals.
This year we will be focusing on 4 ways we move our mission forward, one for each full week of July. Join us during each one of these weeks. Membership also has its perks! We are pairing each theme with a raffle gift or matching opportunity to heighten the impact of your donation.
Week 1: Advocacy for All!
Part of what sets FoFF apart from other farm and food groups is that we have always prioritized systems level change as an avenue to achieve our mission. We run our programs and create community to help folks navigate the system we live in while also getting to the root of the problem and changing the system to reduce barriers and create opportunities. We show up for the farmers we serve because they are not represented by the commodity association representatives and agribusiness lobbyists that legislators hear from all the time. Our work is crucial to changing what decision makers think of when they conjure an image of “the Oregon Farmer” in their minds.
2023 is going to be a big year for small farm policy! We have plans for policy initiatives including:
- Improvements to the Farm Direct Marketing Law
- More funding for small producer oriented meat processing
- Programs to help new/beginning farmers access land and capital
- Addressing water and land misuse by factory farms
- Funding for organic and soil health specialists in OSU extension offices across the state
- And more!
*Stay tuned for more info on the policy creation process and ways to get involved this fall.
We know that the squeaky wheel gets the grease which is why we “wine” to our policy makers on behalf of our farmer community. Our raffle prize this week is a tasting for 4 at Dobbes Family Estate and Argyle Winery. Enjoy some Oregon made fruits of the vine while supporting the farmers you hold near and dear.
Week 2: Environmental Resilience
Farming is, at its heart, a land based enterprise. Our producers are subject to the weather, the soil conditions, the drought, and (ever more frequently) the brutal impact of natural disasters. During the second week of our membership campaign we will celebrate all the ways our work helps farmers be more resilient while sharing our serious plans to continue to support our network when disaster strikes.
The Oregon Pasture Network is a community of practice for pasture based animal farmers with a focus on management intensive rotational grazing, soil health, and forage nutrition. We run two series of classes per year to help producers improve their practices and get the answers they need. We also offer peer to peer learning and community building opportunities to OPN member farms to help build the human sustainability of farming as well.
We were honored to work with our partners at the Oregon Community Food Systems Network to help secure and administer the $1.5M allocated by the state to help small and underrepresented farmers recover from the environmental disasters of 2021 including the ice storm, heat waves, and wildfires. We are proud to be part of a coalition developing one of the most accessible disaster relief programs on record and dedicate our staff to managing the application and applicant assistance.
During this week, your donations will be matched up to $1,000 by one of our generous, environmentally minded supporters. Double the impact of your gift and join the farm-ily in the name of climate resilient agriculture. Also, all donations will get a raffle entry to win a gift basket from our friends at Hummingbird Wholesale! All these ethically sourced, climate conscious products are indicative of Hummingbird’s focus on farmer relationships and care for the future, and they taste good too!
Week 3: Equity on Many Levels
Equity is at the core of our work at FoFF. We began the process of overhauling our programming, taking a hard look at ourselves and our patterns back in 2019. Since then we have changed the way we approach our internal and external work to truly find our place in the system long term. We don’t have an equity statement on our website because we believe our actions speak louder than words, but here are some of the ways we have changed the way we do business to address inequity in agriculture:
- We have dedicated resources to compensating Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) led partner orgs for their time and efforts engaging their communities in policy making with us. We are dedicated to involving folks at every stage of the process so the policies we support are truly reflective of the needs of all the small farmers we serve.
- With the help of a pilot program through the OCFSN, and under the guidance of our esteemed Advisory Council, we launched the Oregon Farm Link Navigate Program in June of 2021. This one on one technical assistance program helps BIPOC farmers find and secure the land they need to enact their farm plans. Individualized plans, hands on help with due diligence, and subsidized or free access to professional services like legal help, comes together through our Navigator Silvia Cuesta. In the first year of the program alone we have helped 7 farmers find land security solutions. We also added equity based screening questions to the Farm Link Listings so folks have more context for who they chose to work with.
- We take an equity lens to our policy support decisions as well, including standing firmly with PCUN’s coalition for farmworker overtime in 2021 and when it eventually passed in 2022. With the support of the majority of our constituents, we were able to take this stance and personally convince some lawmakers to support the bill.
Internally we have also re-evaluated our structure and leadership models. In 2021 we abolished the position of executive director in our organization in favor of a co-director model. We also implemented new budget processes and program decision making to allow the folks doing the work to have the power to make decisions about program direction and resources. We are still on this journey, and have so much to learn, but we think it’s important to show you all that we are not just paying lip service to the movement, but making changes and doing work to move forward.
Join with us on the road to making Oregon’s agricultural system more accessible and equitable. Become a member of the Farm-ily to continue this important work. Donations this week will be matched by combined donations of some of our generous partners up to $1000!
Week 4: Collaboration is Key
In the last week of the month we want to highlight how we fit in the ecosystem of organizations doing the work of improving our agricultural system. FoFF is a proud member of many coalitions to do our work. Over our long history serving the small and midsize farmers of Oregon, we have learned that we are stronger together and we get better results by working in coalition. We have a unique perspective, expertise and history that brings value to our work, but we can never do it all alone. And neither can our partners!
We collaborate on service provision and advocacy to strengthen the network of resources available and the power of the local farmer voice in Oregon. We are a member of:
- Oregon Community Food System Network
- Stand Up to Factory Farms Coalition
- Oregon Organic Coalition
- Oregon Climate Action Plan Water Subtable
- Oregon Department of Agriculture Meat Stakeholders Working Group
- And More!
We relish opportunities to bring together our community and always strive to make solutions that create opportunities to bring together all the interconnected people, ideas and values that make a food and agriculture system based on thriving small farms possible. Your support lets us engage in relationship building that makes all of the organizations swimming in the ocean of sustainable farm systems better. Donate now to help us keep building a web of powerful food and farm change makers. When we know each other and our programs we work better and more efficiently for the farmers we serve, and most of all don’t duplicate efforts!
This week join us for our biggest matching gift of the drive and get your dollars doubled up to $1800 from the All at Once Project and Jack Johnson’s Ohana Foundation. Every will enter you to win 2 tickets for the Jack Johnson Concert in Bend on September 25th! Finish out our membership month strong and help us help more farmers build the future they want in Oregon.
Thank you for all your support during our Summer Membership Drive!
We are only as strong as the community standing behind us!