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 launch grassroots projects, including: buying clubs; cooking classes; community gardens; farm stands; food assessments and wellness assessments, policies and advocacy. We develop successful models for congregations across the state and beyond. We also educate 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.
Read the 2012 report about engaging congregations in building local food system.
Read the 2011 report.
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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 15-16, 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.
Please call (503)221-1054, ext. 214, if you would like to purchase a CD. More audio/visual recordings are coming!
Is your congregation in the Greater Portland Area? Would you like to serve as a drop site for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farm or learn more about them during 2015? Call us at (503) 221-1054, ext. 214, for assistance. By having your congregation serve as a CSA drop site you help support local farmers and increase access to fresh, sustainably grown produce at your congregation and in the surrounding community.
View list of Portland metro area farmers markets.
Interfaith Food and Farms Partnership has released a new handbook that outlines how your congregation can start a micro-enterprise program. The Micro-Enterprise handbook is available for free download, or you may purchase a hardcopy for $10. To purchase the handbook, or if you have a kitchen that is under-utilized and that you would like to use better for mission and outreach or health promotion, contact Allison Warren at (503) 221-1054, ext. 210, or email@example.com. 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. The handbook was published as a companion to our Summit on Food Sovereignty held in Corvallis, Ore., on Oct. 3, 2009. Download Food Sovereignty handbook.
Power point presentations are available from the 2009 Food Sovereignty Summit on Community Gardens,
Wellness Project, and
Farm to Congregation.
Interfaith Food and Farms Partnership encourages congregations and community groups to conduct five-week Healthy Food Drives. It’s as easy as contacting a local food pantry, getting the word out to friends and family, and using IFFP’s resources to maximize your impact.
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Thanks to funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Providence Partners in Health, we started the Congregational Wellness Project to develop 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. In 2012-13, thanks to a grant from NW Health Foundation, Latino congregations in the Willamette Valley used the film The Weight of a Nation to spark conversations in congregations about obesity, followed by use of the Congregational Health Index, action planning and implementation of wellness plans.
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.
Congregational Wellness Project
Your faith community can create an environment that promotes wellness for congregants and the wider community. EMO's Congregational Wellness Project offers tools, resources, personal support and mini-grants (in our region) to
help congregations enact policies, practices and new ways of using your building
and land so that healthy eating and physical activity choices are available to
everyone. Highlights are the Congregational Health Index (CHI) assessment tool
and planning guide (download the CHI) that helps your faith community identify strengths and areas for
improvement and create an action plan for health-impacting changes, and the
www.faithandwellness.org website that contains a wealth of information and inspiration. View "Tools for Creating a Healthy Congregation."
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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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Subscribe to our food and faith e-newsletter by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following in the subject line: "Subscribe Food and Faith."
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· Host a presentation on the Interfaith Food and Farms Partnership.
· 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.
· Participate in the Rockwood community food assessment.
· 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.
· Volunteer to lead a cooking, healthy eating, food preservation or gardening workshop. ·
· Assist with a variety of tasks in the office including outreach, keeping records of farm to congregation partnerships. .
· Draft or contribute articles for our Food and Faith quarterly newsletter.
· 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.
Call us at (503) 221-1054 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Sign up for our Food & Faith quarterly newsletter: send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, city and affiliation.
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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:
"Coupons link local farms, churches," Corvallis Gazette Times, Dec. 11, 2006
"Program connects growers, churches and hungry families," Capital Press, March 30, 2007
"Learning thrifty home cooking," Corvallis Gazette Times, Sept. 24, 2007
"Chef fires up class for cooking on a tight budget," Corvallis Gazette Times, March 28, 2008
"Church offers garden space to low-income residents," Corvallis Gazette Times, May 31, 2008
"Report presses for food policy," The Skanner, July 30, 2008
"Garden to share its fruits with all," Corvallis Gazette Times, Sept. 2008
"Local farmers discuss local foods," Corvallis Gazette Times, Nov.17, 2008
"Parish gardens help struggling families," Catholic Sentinel, May 21, 2009
"Community garden helps fight obesity epidemic among Latinos," Oregonian, June 27, 2009
"Food in Faith," Edible Portland, Winter 2011, page 30
"Edible Portland, " AM Northwest, Dec. 8, 2010
"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.
EMO's Interfaith Network for Earth Concerns is a participant in the Powell's Books Partner Program. When you purchase a book at Powell's Books online store, our programs will earn 7.5 percent commission on every sale. Be sure to enter the Powell's Books site through our Web site. Go to our "Book Shelf" or use the search engine below.
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Jenny Holmes, Project Director
0245 SW Bancroft Street, Suite B, Portland, Oregon 97239
(503) 221-1054, ext. 214
Anna Burnham, Food Justice Coordinator
(503) 221-1054, ext. 215
Alison Warren, Program Associate
0245 SW Bancroft St., Suite B, Portland, Oregon 97239
(503) 221-1054, ext. 210
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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