The Local Food action area is focused on the act of growing food and creating viable local options in our food system by maintaining viable agriculture land and encouraging environmental resource stewardship as well as supporting small and mid-scale farming ventures while increasing urban food production.

Much of Oregon’s agricultural bounty is not consumed in-state. About 80% of Oregon’s agricultural products are exported out-of-state, and more than 60% leave the country. Multnomah County is a major player in the agricultural economy of Oregon, ranking among the most productive counties for caneberries (raspberries, blackberries, Marionberries, and Boysenberries) and greenhouse/nursery products. In Multnomah County, the number of direct market channels for farmers to sell directly to consumers continues to increase, and local foods are increasingly identified as such in local grocery stores and supermarkets. The high demand for small, urban agriculture projects exceeds the number of opportunities currently available. While this had led to numerous grassroots projects as well as efforts by local governments to increase offerings, many barriers remain. The market for locally produced foods continues to grow in the Portland area; increasing demand could serve to protect at-risk farmland.


Goal 1: Protect and Enhance the Agricultural Land Base

1.1 Minimize expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary
Strengthen overall farmland protection through regulation, zoning, incentives and disincentives to minimize the conversion of agricultural land to other uses

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1.2 Increase acreage of urban food producing land
Inventory and increase the acreage of urban food producing by promoting regulations, zoning, incentives and disincentives that enhance the acreage of urban farms, orchards, community gardens, parking easement gardens, and school gardens

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1.3 Establish an agricultural land trust
Establish an organization that permanently protects food production land within the Urban Growth Boundary

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1.4 Develop incentives for food producing land
Create incentives for the lease of land to small farmers, use of property as community gardens, and for the donation or sale of agricultural land to a land trust or public agency

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1.5 Promote integrated land use
Establish multi-purpose land use (i.e. for education, recreation, or special events) at the margins of the Urban Growth Boundary that offers flexibility, but maintains land as a working farm

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1.6 Promote policy education
Educate the community so members are aware of and supports protection of land for food production

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Goal 2: Support Small and Mid-Scale Farms

2.1 Increase opportunities for farmers
Promote access to land, capital, training, and direct marketing opportunities for new and existing farmers through policies and programs (e.g. farmer incubator networks, an online information clearinghouse, and small business training)

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2.2 Strengthen local processing and distribution capacity
Support establishment of a local USDA approved organic processing facilities for small to mid-sized producers to increase regional capacity

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2.3 Increase local purchasing by the retail sector
Secure commitment by retail grocers and restaurants to support and purchase from local farmers by identifying and overcoming existing barriers to purchases

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2.4 Inventory and establish community assets
Inventory and establish community assets that support small and mid-scale farm food production, processing, and distribution (e.g. land, commercial kitchens, cold storage, distribution facilities, etc.)

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2.5 Develop and Use Local Influence

Harness local influence to ensure that federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and policies support small and mid-scale farmers

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Goal 3: Increase Urban Food Production

3.1 Establish an urban food hub and community food resource centers
Establish a hub and neighborhood-based food resource centers that educate through demonstration projects and hands-on programming such as gardening, cooking and preserving food, emergency preparedness, energy conservation and other sustainability issues, and also includes amenities such as lending libraries (like tool libraries), meeting spaces, resource sharing opportunities such as a seed bank, garden and commercial kitchen space

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3.2 Convert underutilized land into food production
Convert underutilized land (e.g. parking lots, sport courts, institutional and faith-based properties, rooftops, and vacant lots) into food producing gardens by partnering with private owners, multi-residential properties, and businesses 

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3.3 Fund opportunities for urban food production
Develop funding opportunities for urban food production (e.g. urban farm hub, neighborhood demonstration centers, community gardens, OSU Extension programming) such as a bond measure, service district, or capital campaign

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3.4 Host an annual Food Summit (spring) and Harvest Festival (fall) 
Create opportunities for the community to network, learn, and celebrate our local food culture

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Goal 4: Encourage Sustainable Resource Stewardship

4.1 Create resources out of food waste 
Promote the regeneration of food waste into resources (i.e. compost and bio-gas) and increase diversion of compostable items from landfills to local composting facilities or backyard composting

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4.2 Support third-party certification 
Support certification by third parties for food growers and processors and support third-party certified businesses and products (i.e. Organic, Food Alliance, Salmon Safe, etc.)

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4.3 Develop a regional seed library 
Develop a system to protect species diversity and provide access to seed for local farmers and create a mandatory buffer or easement around genetically modified crops (GMOs)

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4.4 Promote community awareness 
Promote education of sustainability issues and solutions around issues such as water conservation, climate impacts, less toxic chemical alternatives, and native pollinators. 

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