Newspaper headlines about Mad Cow Disease, eColi outbreaks, food product recalls, factory farming, inhumane treatment of animals, "pink slime" ground beef used in school lunches attest to the serious problems in the US food supply today. Friends of Family Farmers advocates for Oregon's small farmers producing food in a healthy and environmentally responsible manner. Along the way, it works to educate eaters about the myriad challenges to farming and to a safe food supply. FoFF goes to the Capitol to lobby for legislation that is making an impact on the food we eat and the rules that govern agriculture in the state. It has carved out an important role to play at a time when the US food system is in need of drastic reform and family farmers face huge challenges.
Friends of Family Farmers does SO much for local communities that it is difficult to know where to begin. One VERY successful project was changing the Oregon law for jam/jelly-making & pickle-making. These items are now MUCH more accessible at Farmer's markets because of the efforts of FoFF. They also supported the founding of an Oregon State Bank last year in Salem. This would have helped not only family farmers but also small, local businesses. I am sure that they will continue with this effort next year. Their monthly newsletters provide information on upcoming events and links to various "farmer friendly" sites. Someone recently told me that FoFF was a national organization because it is so well-run and making a difference.
Friends of Family Farmers embodies a method of community building in which culture, food and connection are pivotal. This practice is incredibly important to the well being of all communities, and each month at the InFARMation event that they host, I see it changing our local community for the better. As a volunteer, I have never felt so supported and personally enriched by a non-profit. The community connections that I have found through FoFF have changed my life, I would be lost without these women and the greater community that they have built.
We’re all stakeholders in food and agriculture policy. And Friends of Family Farmers is a grassroots organization that takes food responsibility seriously. Comprised of food advocates, concerned citizens and farmers, the non-profit works to foster an approach to agriculture that not only respects the land, but also treats animals humanely and sustains local communities.
Friends of Family Farmers supports regulations to prevent the environmentally unsound practices of corporate farms. It promotes sensible policies and environmentally responsible regulations that allow Oregon’s family farmers to run successful enterprises while providing safe, fresh and nutritious food for all Oregonians.
The organization protects socially responsible and sustainable family scale agriculture, and offers its services to communities desiring to organize and advance socially responsible farming or build healthy local food systems.
Most food travels long distances to reach our tables. Friends of Family Farmers encourages food shopping closer to home. The practice of eating food grown close to home minimizes our carbon footprint while supporting local food sources and revitalizing the local community.
Hundreds of farmers leave the land every week. This loss forecasts a bleak local food future. Friends of Family Farmers serves as a conduit and advisor to young farmers seeking to be good stewards of the land. And staff and volunteers provide educational meetings, classes and programs promoting consumer awareness of important land use, environmental and economic issues.
Friends of Family Farmers works to support not only the livelihood and health of family farmers but the entire community. The health issues related to access and availability of whole, healthy and affordable food has been paramount in our national dialogue but what is often overlooked are the small farmers that allow for this access. Small local farmers can serve small local communities that are often overlooked by large corporate farms given to commodity cropping and export. By the same hand, however, small family farmers do not benefit from the economies of scale or subsidies that many large corporate farms enjoy and, thereby, fall short of the support they need to prosper. THAT is where Friends of Family Farmers shows its greatest strength by advocating for farmers, both as a friendly support and on the legislative level doing the work that small farmers are often too busy to engage in. As a volunteer and strong supporter I can think of very few other organization that work to address the issues of food access, health and farmer advocacy quite so brilliantly. It has been, and remains, and honor to work with them.
Friends of Family Farmers is one of the most well-organized, creative, and effective non-profits I have come across. I discovered them when a friend invited me to an InFARMation session. These sessions happen every month. FoFF invites speakers from all over the region to discuss issues that affect both farmers and consumers. Whether it's Farm Bills, raising urban chickens, food labels, or CSas, the topics are always fascinating, and their website is a great resource for further research. No other group is doing as much great work to support our farmers and to help consumers become more educated and connected to the food system. Thank you, FoFF, for helping to make me a better consumer, cultivator, and member of our community.