Help change local food systems by advocating for schools in your community to integrate locally sourced foods into school meals! Farm to school programs can help advance nutritional and educational equity for kids. If you live in Oregon, you can start by directing your community schools to procurement and funding resources provided by the Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network and The Oregon Department of Education.
Explore ways toTake Action
Crawl-Walk-Run Action Steps
Most articles on Better the Future conclude with actionable steps readers can take. While some of us may be ready to take off running right away, others may need time to learn to crawl. We come from different backgrounds and have differing motivations for wanting to influence change to our food culture. We hope somewhere within these steps everyone can find a comfortable place to begin.
Crawl steps are designed to make you stop and consider an idea, to think about why our culture is structured the way it is or to notice how food culture influences your daily life.
Walk steps move beyond thinking and discovering for yourself to begin to influencing the people closest to you, like family, friends and coworkers. Most people will find these manageable with few resources or outside help.
Run steps move beyond the comfort zone of our close social circles to influence the community in which we live, work and play. These often require the support of others, and work on a broader level.
Offer your support to local community-based organizations, like Rogue Valley Farm to School, that are doing incredible work to support a healthier world for kids. If you live in the area, consider volunteering with Rogue Valley Farm to School to help support their various programs. Don’t live nearby? Visit their Support Us page for more ideas on how you can support their work and mission!
Learn more about the impact that integrating local farm fresh foods into school meals can have on children’s health, learning, the local economy and the environment. Check out this data from Farm To School Counts that captures the various benefits of farm to school programs across Oregon!
Take action!! Join forces with local organizations that are engaging in food advocacy work to influence policy makers and advance change. This starts with reaching out to organizations and asking where they could use support or energy. As Oregon Food Bank says, “ending hunger starts with community power and a commitment to ending the unfair systems that create unequal access to food.”
Have a fruit tree in your yard or in your community with excess produce? Portland Fruit Tree Project has resources for learning how to harvest yourself! The produce can then be brought to the public-access Fruit Fridge for distribution to community organizations based on needs/wants. If you’re not in a position to be able to harvest the produce yourself, Portland Fruit Tree Project can help for a sliding scale fee.
Find your state representative and let them know you are worried about rising rates of chronic disease and what it could mean for your community’s long-term health and stability.
Read more about the developmental origins of chronic disease to get a better understanding of how chronic disease risk begins.
Look up rates of common chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes in your state and how they’ve changed over the past 25 years. State public health departments are a great place to start searching for this data.
Can’t find a mutual network in your area? Develop your own! Look online for guides on how to start a mutual aid network or reach out to an existing one in the state. Establishing a mutual aid network can ensure that those most vulnerable in your community are provided the food and goods they need.
If you have the means, donate supplies or volunteer time to a mutual aid network in your community.
Is there anyone you know that may benefit from one? Let them know about what resources they may be able to receive.