You are hereAbout the Multnomah Food Initiative
About the Multnomah Food Initiative
The Multnomah Food Initiative began as an innovative community partnership to develop a shared food system vision, goals, and an action plan that will promote issues of health, social justice, economic vitality, and sustainability within our regional food system. A robust Steering Committee comprised of 32 diverse food system stakeholders from local business, government, nonprofits, and community members and organizations was convened to provided input, guidance, and support in this endeavor and to shape a strategic community-based plan to implement by 2025. The Multnomah Food Action Plan was developed with significant community input and incorporated the findings of the Multnomah Food Action Report. The 2010 Food Summit and community workshops around the four action pillars: local food, healthy eating, social equity, and economic vitality were hosted that engaged our community in the Plan’s development.
The Multnomah Food Action Plan was finalized and launched by our community in January 2011. The Plan was adopted by the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners and over 500 organizations and individuals signed the Declaration of Support. The 15-year action plan offers four action pillars containing 16 goals and 65 community-wide collaborative actions for local government, businesses, non-profit organizations, faith communities, and learning institutions. The Plan also offers 40 actions for individual community members whose daily choices or lack of choices in what to eat, where to shop, and how to become an advocate for change greatly influence our community.
During the implementation phase of the Plan, actions actions are being implemented the over 500 organizational and individual supporters. Multnomah County’s continues to act as convener of the Multnomah Food Initiative with the Office of Sustainability and Health Department partnering to host the annual Multnomah Food Summit and to work with community stakeholders towards implementation of the Plan.
Why a Food Initiative?
Multnomah County is at the epicenter of the local food movement. There are countless food-related, grassroots efforts being made in the community, as well as numerous projects and initiatives led by local government. The prevalence of local Farmers' Markets and growing interest in organic gardening indicate strong community support for local food, but we must do more. To achieve a truly sustainable, healthy and equitable food system, all partners must help reach a common vision and share responsibility for the implementation of a strategic action plan.
Why an Action Plan?
Multnomah County, like much of the country, is at a critical juncture in fixing its food system. Currently, we have a two-track food system: those who can afford it have access to sustainable, locally grown, healthful foods, while the poor have few healthful food options in their communities, and even fewer economic resources to purchase such foods. Hunger, food insecurity, and health disparities result from a system that perpetuates economic inequality and social injustice. The scales must be rebalanced.
Currently, Multnomah County lacks a coordinated strategy around its food system. While there is tremendous effort being made to create a sustainable, healthy, and equitable local food system in Multnomah County, the collective impact of our work can be increased through a community-wide vision and strategic action plan.
Multnomah County policymakers have proclaimed that all residents should have access to healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate, locally and sustainably grown food. Planning for this outcome is critical. Our region has transportation plans, land use plans, climate action plans, and economic development strategies. The time has come to develop a food system strategy and action plan to protect and enhance our food system.
All stakeholders have a voice in the future of our food system --- every eater, backyard gardener, urban and rural farmer, food processor and distributor, emergency food provider, restaurant, grocer, and market vendor. Creating a shared vision and goals among stakeholders through collaborative action is critical for making effective change in food system policy and programs.