SOFA: Southern Oregon Food Alliance – A Regional Food System Network

Umpqua Valley Farm to School has partnered with Rogue Valley Food System Network and  Thrive Umpqua to develop a regional food hub that encompasses the five-county region of Southwestern Oregon: Jackson, Josephine, Douglas, Coos, and Curry counties. Together, we aim to expand the capacity of our local farms while creating the infrastructure that is needed to provide fresh, local foods to buyers throughout the region.

After a two-year long assessment of our current food system, a conclusion was drawn that there is a need to build connections between coastal fisheries and processors and inland buyers, as well as farmers and ranchers throughout the region to restaurants, schools, and institutions. The goal of SOFA is to work cohesively to create an equitable, inclusive food system network to support all types of agriculture in the Southern Oregon region.

SOFA Workgroups

The results of the food hub feasibility study concluded with several workgroups in the areas where need was assessed. From these workgroups, SOFA worked together to determine the best fit for each of our counties and the region as a whole. Below are the original categories:

  • Category 1:  Strengthening farmers and ranchers, and increasing overall production capacity 
  • Category 2:  Building on existing hubs and innovations
  • Category 3:  Building, reaching new markets through coordinated production
  • Category 4:  Expanding infrastructure, logistics and delivery capacity
  • Category 5:  Increasing access to healthy foods for lower income people
  • Category 6:  Increasing markets and opportunities for fishermen and local seafood companies

Umpqua Valley Farm to School and Thrive Umpqua are working together on a Food Policy committee to move some of the categories forward, while combining and restructuring others. Rogue Valley Food System Network is continuing to do work in Josephine and Jackson Counties, and is partnering with Klamath County on more projects.

Stay tuned for updates regarding our food system work!

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