BEND, Ore. - The growing season is starting to blossom in Central Oregon, which means locally grown food is right at your fingertips.
Just in time for the season, the 2nd annual Food & Farm Directory highlights the bounty of locally grown and raised foods, and the businesses that feature these products.
The Food & Farm directory is your guide to plump tomatoes, tender greens, grass?fed beef, yummy jams and sauces, and pastured eggs for purchase at a local grocer, farmers' market, or direct from a farmer or rancher.
A first of its kind in Central Oregon, the Directory will be printed as an insert in The Source Weekly on May 29th and available at Buy Fresh Buy Local member locations, libraries, tourist offices soon thereafter; an online Directory is available year?round at www.centraloregonfoodpolicy.org (click on "Buy Fresh Buy Local."
The Directory is a comprehensive list of the region's farms, farmers markets, grocery stores and restaurants that use or sell local farm and ranch products.
"We are blessed by the amount of agricultural products that we have available," states Katrina Van Dis, Central Oregon Food Policy Council (COFPC) Co?chair. "Although people believe you can't grow food here, you can! We want to make it easy for consumers to find products and to realize there are a lot of products to choose from including vegetables, meat, honey, flowers, herbs, and flour."
The goal of the directory is to develop a community?based food system, which increases food security for the region.
"We are encouraging people to support their local economy and the farmers that supply us with fresh and healthy foods," states Jane Sabin?Davis, Board Treasurer. "I often worry about the future of food the next generations; building our local food system now will help Central Oregonians to become food independent in the future by building the relationships between farmers and consumers, restaurants and retailers so that local sourcing gets easier and less expensive for everyone."
The Directory considers "local" to be the tri?county region of Central Oregon, with a few exceptions such as farms in near the cities of Maupin and Kimberly.
Last year, community members and the COFPC worked together to develop the guidelines for membership, for example, restaurants must carry at least one local food item at all times and grocers must carry an average of 10 products per month.
To ensure these guidelines are met the COFPC depends on consumers to let them know on Facebook about their experiences.
The community can get involved through our adopt?a?farmer or business and help ensure the local standards are met; contact the volunteer?run Central Oregon Food Policy Council. COFPC is a citizen-based advisory board to Central Oregon that addresses issues regarding healthy food access, public policies and land use issues affecting food and farming, and provides outreach and education to the community. COFPC works in partnership with Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC) and the FoodRoutes Network to raise awareness about the benefits of buying local food. For more information, contact the COFPC at 541?504?3307 or centraloregonfoodpolicy