A project of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon's Interfaith Network for Earth Concerns.
To empower faith communities, farmers and neighborhoods
to build rural-urban alliances
create innovative partnerships
for just and sustainable food systems
that promote community health.
Buy Local—When you buy food grown close to home, you cast a vote in favor of local, sustainable agriculture and family farms.
Food and Faith—Communities of faith can play a vital role in creating a just and sustainable food system by demonstrating a commitment to local farmers and cultivating an understanding of food security issues.
Feeding Ourselves—We envision a future in which local farms feed local families, and direct marketing relationships contribute to a vibrant local economy and a healthy population.
In collaboration with diverse congregations and community groups, we have launched grassroots projects, including buying clubs, cooking classes, community gardens, farm stands, food and wellness assessments, policies, and advocacy. We have developed successful models for congregations across the state and beyond. We have also provided education on the ethical dimensions of food systems through conferences, workshops, and presentations and consultations with congregations on starting a comprehensive food program that integrates faith and action.
The Interfaith Network for Earth Concerns (INEC) began promoting community food security in the faith community in 1994, linking anti-hunger work with economic justice and environmental sustainability. In 1997, we held the landmark "A Place at the Table Conference" at University of Portland, which drew people from throughout the Northwest. INEC's workshops and publications, such as Portland’s Bounty, fed a growing interest in forging connections with local farms and led to the formation of the Interfaith Food and Farms Partnership (IFFP).
In 2005, IFFP began developing and evaluating models for farm-to-congregation alliances in low-income communities. IFFP began as a collaboration with Oregon Food Bank, Heifer International, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry, Oregon Farmers’ Market Association, MercyCorps NW, Oregon State University Small Farms Extension, and many faith communities. We drew much inspiration from the Rev. John Pitney, who has been a leader in farm-to-congregation organizing for over a decade. Since 2005 IFFP has been the recipient of three grants from the USDA Community Food Projects program to develop faith-based community food system models that benefit and include leadership from low-income communities.
In 2008, we started the Congregational Wellness Project, which engages faith communities in promoting children’s health and combating child obesity, both within their congregations and in the wider community. This project shares the goals of increasing community access to healthy, just and sustainable foods, especially for the most vulnerable among us, and also supports regular physical activity and enjoyment of the outdoors for spiritual sustenance and general well-being.
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What exactly are genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? Why were they developed? How are GMOs being used? And why are so many people concerned about them? Find out by listening to the October 15, 2014, forum on GMO's at Warner Pacific Conference (download audio of the forum).
The Inferfaith Food & Farms Partnership has been working on a campaign this year to raise awareness about reducing food waste. In honor of World Environment Day, we have created a Food Waste Reduction Guide for anyone to use as a tool to learn about the issue of food waste and take steps to reduce their food waste at home. There are global campaigns happening right now to combat food waste, and so many have committed to be more intentional about what they buy, how much they buy, and finding ways to save and preserve food to avoid spoilage. Use this guide as your jumping off point to reduce your food waste! Download the Food Waste Reduction Guide.
The March 2013 Food Ethics Conference asked the question, “How can we renew our moral and religious imaginations to shape ethics and practices for food and agriculture in ways that better support human health, social justice, rich cultures and healthy ecosystems?” Through keynotes, panel discussions and small groups, we explored the human relationship with land and food from the perspectives of theology and diverse disciplines and cultures.
Download recordings of Elizabeth Woody and Dr. Norm Wirzba and their dialogue at Warner Pacific in Portland, Ore. on March 15: Elizabeth Woody,
Dr. Norm Wirzba,
Q & A.
Interfaith Food and Farms Partnership has released a new handbook that outlines how your congregation can start a micro-enterprise program. Download Micro-Enterprise handbook.
This 25-page handbook outlines how to start and maintain community gardens, community kitchens, buying clubs, farm stands and other projects harnessing faith community resources. It offers tips for project success and effective collaboration with low-income populations. Download Food Sovereignty handbook.
The Congregational Wellness Project has developed tools for congregations to prevent obesity and chronic health problems. Because obesity disproportionately impacts lower-income and people of color, the project has placed special emphasis on these communities. This project produced the Congregational Health Index in English and Spanish, a website (www.faithandwellness.org) with resources for congregations and families including sample congregational wellness guidelines, wellness policies and more. The Congregational Health Index is an assessment and planning tool that enables congregations to identify possible changes in their environments and practices and make concrete improvements that support health.
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Farm to Congregation Projects
We facilitate a variety of farm to congregation partnerships including farm stands after Sunday services, community supported agriculture (CSA), and the Farm Fresh Buying Club where members combine their purchasing power to get wholesale prices for produce. As part of these partnerships, congregations are encouraged to find creative ways to increase access to healthy food for low-income people. This has included offering subsidized CSA shares and donating CSA shares and leftover produce from the farm stands to organizations that serve low-income people
We offer cooking classes in diverse environments from congregation kitchens to single room occupancy apartment buildings to community gardens. Past cooking classes have served a variety of people including low-income people who only have a microwave or burner for cooking, middle school students and families. An area of focus has been affordable cooking with fresh produce for WIC recipients. All classes use fresh produce and often food pantry items. Participants with low incomes are given cooking supplies and fresh produce at the end of the classes. Check out the recipes our chefs used to teach some of the classes, found under Resources & Links.
Northeast Emergency Food Pantry Outreach
The Northeast Emergency Food Program provides services to an ethnically diverse and low-income population in the Cully Neighborhood. Efforts have focused on increasing awareness about farmers’ markets and the benefits of eating fresh produce, SNAP enrollment, and healthy food demonstrations and sampling with chefs. We also distribute veggie seeds and starts and gardening instructions for those who want to grow their own food
In fall 2007, we completed a food assessment of parts of north and northeast Portland, designed and implemented by people with low-incomes from the neighborhoods. IFFP will continue work on the issues brought to the surface by the food assessment to increase food access for all! (See our Tools below for more information.) A significant focus in 2012-13 has been a grassroots community food assessment in the Rockwood neighborhood of Gresham, Ore., which has a high poverty level and many challenges in accessing healthy food. It also has many strengths and assets including a rich diversity of cultures, strong grassroots leadership, and congregations with land and kitchens. View the food assessment results, "Food for Rockwood: Highlights from the Rockwood Community Food Assessment." The project is funded in part by the USDA Community Food Projects program.
The Interfaith Food & Farms Partnership’s Portland staff lend our voice to support family farming and strong state and national policies to improve food access.
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Laura Masterson, 47th Avenue Community Supported Agriculture Farm, Portland
Tom Winterrowd, Pitkin Winterrowd Farms, Canby
Yua Lo, Corbett
Andrea Davis, Kings Valley Garden, Kings Valley
Alexander Velikoretskikh, Great River Farm
Heather Burns, Little Frog Farm, Sauvie Island
CSA Inspires Local Food Cookbook, Lincoln Street United Methodist Church, Portland
Linda and Tom Berkemeier, Lincoln Street United Methodist Church, Portland
Becky Perreaulx, St. Andrews, Portland
Lucky Flower Farm
NW Organic Farm, Ridgefield, Wash.
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· Host a screening of the 26-minute film "Nourish" at education sessions for youth and adults.
· Facilitate a dialogue or religious education lesson on food as a faith issue, hunger, supporting local farmers or childhood obesity as a social justice/spiritual issue.
· Develop a food policy for your congregation using resources and templates at www.faithandwellness.org.
· Buy directly from local farmers, especially new and immigrant farmers.
· Incorporate healthy, local food into your food pantry, social ministry, parish school or preschool, your congregation's activities from social hour to committee meetings and your community events.
· Use land or facilities for community gardens, farm stands, cooking clubs, educational sessions on healthy eating and physical activity, or opportunities to exercise.
· Participate in community advocacy around food security, children's health and obesity prevention.
· Donate food from your farm, retail business or garden for cooking classes.
· Donate seeds and seedlings for distribution at NEFP or other sites that serve people with low-incomes.
· Help organize an educational or fundraising event.
· Serve as an intern for the summer or for class credit.
To learn more, call us at (503) 221-1054.
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Cooking Local Food Recipes
To find the farmers' market, farm stand, u-pick, or community supported agriculture farm nearest you, check out these websites:
"Portland Community Kitchens," Oregonian, July 15, 2011
"Groups sustain 'food justice' past emergency needs," The Oregonian, Nov. 6, 2012.
"Breathing new life into Rockwood, Part I and Part 2," Presbyterian News Service, March 31 & April 1, 2015
"EMO's Rockwood Farmers
Market," MetroEast Community Hotline (video), May 27, 2015
Here is a short list of links to local, regional, national and international resources pertaining to community food security and environmental sustainability.
The 2008 Farm Bill passed through Congress after a presidential veto. For more information on how policy transforms our food systems, check out these Web sites:
From Our Own Soil: A Community Food Assessment of Benton County
View full report or short report. Download Adobe Reader.
Everyone Eats! North/Northeast Portland Food Assessment
View full report or Executive Summary.
“That’s My Farmer” A Handbook to Starting a Grassroots Farmers’ Market Coupon Program includes practical tips gleaned from years of experience with the “That’s My Farmer” coupon program, guidelines for a successful program and templates for replicating it. Download the handbook.
Farm to Congregation, A Handbook on Starting a Congregational Farm Stand documents our experience with five different farm stand models at faith communities. It outlines the typical tasks and responsibilities for the congregation and farmer, provides a recommended timeline and details how to integrate a farm stand into the life of a congregation and its surrounding community.
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0245 SW Bancroft Street, Suite B, Portland, Oregon 97239
Eating with the fullest pleasure—pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance—is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend.
–Wendell Berry, The Pleasures of Eating
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