Greetings from Southern Oregon Food Solutions!
Hoping that you are well, and that we all get through this summer and fire season intact.
While Southern Oregon Food Solutions has not been meeting regularly, there have been activities. We are also looking for ways to support this community going forward.
Reducing Waste in Packaging Related to Food
The Rogue-to-Go program is still expanding their reach. Rogue-to-Go is providing a simple way to get food to go without all the trash of single use containers. Check out their progress at http://roguetogo.com. And the Lend me a Plate Program is gearing up now that restrictions are lifting. Lend Me A Plate (LMAP) is a volunteer-run program started by Southern Oregon Master Recyclers in Action (https://somra.org) that aims to reduce waste generated at events and gatherings by providing durable goods as an alternative to the use instead of disposable products.
Reducing Waste in Business
Emerging Futures Network has partnered with Recology to provide certifications to restaurants and commercial kitchens that have made strides toward the goal of zero waste. They are providing 1 on 1 consulting to help businesses operate sustainably, and now they have created a selection of helpful instructive videos on reducing food waste. Check out their recent newsletter.
Matching Food Surplus to Food Needs
Our community adapted to the pandemic and the Almeda Fire through programs like Farms to Families coordinated by Fry Family Farms and RV Farm2School and Rogue Food Unites. Here are a couple of videos that captures these efforts.
These endeavors showed how we can come together out of necessity to help one another and recognize food’s essential role in our economy and our lives. We have continued to address the gaps created in our food system and meet those needs locally. The connections and infrastructure created through these crises can help our food systems improve on a lasting basis.
As the issue of efficiently matching food surplus to need is recognized as a critical solution to preventing food waste, more innovations are contributing. Rogue Valley Food Systems Network – https://rvfoodsystem.org recognized the FreshFoodConnect app to provide residential gardeners with resources that will accept their surpluses.
Connecting Home-Grown Produce with Food Banks
Supporting Community Efforts to Address Climate Change
One of the many activities of SOCAN (Southern Oregon Climate Action Network) has been the establishment of the County and City Project.
There are now five small groups with a specific focus for each group:
Water / drought issues,
County focus – to try and advocate for sustainability with County Commissioners,
Community Study to assess what is the best path to take,
Building electrification and
If you are looking to get involved, you should contact Lorrie Kaplan: Lorrie@socan.eco
Our underlying goal…
…is to minimize food waste in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We do this by working in community to educate and inspire action for food production, usage, and disposal.
We can do this by supporting organizations that are already working to fill gaps in the food cycle in our community, and organizations already working to address climate change. And we can do this by becoming visible advocates for reducing greenhouse gas emissions like preventing food waste. There are opportunities to plug in – here are a few:
There are vacant positions on the Ashland climate related commissions: 2 positions each in the Climate Policy Commission, and the Conservation and Climate Outreach Commission.
Local city council meetings need to have citizens show up and express their concern and request action to reduce greenhouse gases. Find out when your council meets and show up (and invite your friends to show up) to make comments that get entered into the public record.
Established organizations in our area that are working on food issues need volunteers. Extra hands are needed for events such as the Rogue Valley Food System Network Annual Farm tour. Through connecting to others, we bring our community closer together, and that will allow us to thrive.
And as restrictions are lifted, and the weather becomes bearable to be outside for longer periods of time, Southern Oregon Food Solutions will be looking for opportunities to be tabling – perhaps partnering with other local organizations.
A highly recommended summer read: “The Future We Choose; Surviving the Climate Crisis” by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac. It’s a fast 171 pages. The two authors played critical roles as the Chief Negotiator and her Assistant in the formation of the Paris agreement. It is excellent because it speaks to the trepidation each individual may face about climate change, how to cope and how to engage most effectively. It presents the perspective of facing the odds of a successful Paris agreement in a terrorism threatened environment. It also articulates the level of responsibility we have for the future. The book draws a very vivid picture of what daily life will feel like in the two scenarios – where we do little to nothing to change, and also where we take an active role in all measures to start drawing down emissions. “Seek collective opportunities to advance the cause of emissions reductions.” That is a good summary line from the book.
We are now halfway through 2021. It’s essential that momentum to address climate change grows in every community. It is up to each of us to push for transitions in our communities to make us more sustainable.