Winning When You’re Unwelcome

On February 22 of this year, I walked into a room that I didn’t feel welcome in. I had been invited to talk about our plans for the 2023 session, but others called acknowledging small producers “anti-farmer” and spoke out directly against the kind of work we do. There were a few who approached me, introduced themselves, said they valued the perspectives I brought from people like you, but most avoided eye contact and refused to shake my hand, and created a feeling that the people in the room didn’t want me to be there. That room was the state Board of Agriculture Meeting and those unfriendly people were from conventional agriculture industry groups. 

This is just one way industrial agriculture makes it as hard as possible to take up space in the rooms where decisions are made. There are many groups that serve corporate agribusiness, FoFF is one of the only groups in the state with a full scale advocacy program focused on small farms. Join us during our summer membership drive so we can keep showing up!

Creating environments to keep people on the outside is one of the tactics. Throughout the legislative session I also saw groups use misinformation and fear to sway legislators against supporting small producers. But in the face of all that our farmers showed up and you know what happened at the end of the day? We changed the narrative and we won. 1,166 people showed up with written testimony in favor of our priorities and dozens more testified during hearings. Here’s a short list of what we did this session:

  • Maintained the Willamette Valley Protected district to protect specialty seed growers.
  • Modernized the Farm Direct Law to expand products and sales outlets
  • Secured a total of $6.65 MILLION to help small farms and community food systems cope with drought
  • Passed the first Factory Farm legislation in decades to make meaningful change on large CAFO water consumption and land use.
  • Supported so many more coalition campaigns like Double Up Food Bucks, Oregon Farm to School and Natural Climate Solutions.

This work is not possible without support from folks like you. If you are benefitted by any of the policies we work on, now’s the time to sign up for a $5/month donation to FoFF. Your support keeps us in the room for sessions to come. Let’s move the food system forward together!

P.S. Becoming a monthly donor during the membership drive comes with some perks! Check out our donation page to learn more about some awesome swag.