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Community Food Work Converging
For the past year, MMT has been exploring how communities can re-create thriving local/regional food systems, particularly in rural Oregon, as a way to increase access to food, improve health and provide economic opportunity.
This past November, Meyer Memorial Trust joined Oregon Public Health Institute, Northwest Health Foundation and Kaiser Permanente to convene all of our food system grantees to talk about the "convergence" of agriculture and health to create a more healthy, equitable, sustainable, and economically robust regional food system in Oregon and southwest Washington. In one of the more amazing gatherings I've experienced in my seven years at MMT, over 100 participants "converged" in Salem for one day to discuss "Agriculture and Health: Opportunities at the Intersection." Participants came from all over the state and southwest Washington, representing health advocacy organizations, local governments, community food system nonprofits, farmers, ranchers and food industry leaders.
The focus for the day was to identify where the gaps were, particularly in public policy, and how to best close those gaps and build a stronger local/regional food movement. Connections were made, ideas percolated, and we all left a little more optimistic and energized that the movement was now a bigger sum than its individual parts and that a healthy, sustainable agricultural system is critical to individual and community health. This document summarizes key points from the convergence.
If you are interested in more information from the convening, please visit the Oregon Public Health Institute's website for summaries and background materials.
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