The Open Food Network (OFN) is partnering with The Rockwood Food System Collaborative (RFSC), a multiethnic group of food oriented stakeholders near Gresham, Oregon. The RFSC is one of the projects chosen for funding in the USDA’s Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) grant program. People-Places-Things and Rockwood CDC are administering the project and are both represented in the RFSC. Rockwood CDC, who founded the RFSC, works with neighbours and families to build a place where everyone can learn, earn and belong. Two of the most prominent “members” of the Collaborative are Yasuke Pharm and Outgrowing Hunger. Today we will learn about two community leaders from these organizations: Dr. Michelle from Yasuke Pharm and Adam from Outgrowing Hunger. We found their stories to be really inspiring, and we think you will too.
Dr. Michelle’s organization, Yasuke Pharm (Insta @yasukepharm), is an integrated hub that combines farming, food production, and healthcare services to provide food as medicine to people in the community who are living with chronic diseases. They are in the process of creating a grocery store and an online food hub with OFN to support their work. She believes in a holistic approach to healthcare and emphasizes the importance of collaboration and relationship-building.
Adam is the director of Outgrowing Hunger (Insta @outgrowinghunger), an organization that started as a community garden initiative in 2011 and has since expanded to include immigrant and refugee community members. They operate a network of farm incubators, shared resources, community gardens and farm accelerator programs, supporting farmers in setting up their own small businesses. Adam works closely with immigrants and refugees from the community to coordinate programs and events to meet their needs and they hire from within the community to foster empowerment.
Through the LFPP grant, Dr. Michelle and Adam are collaborating with OFN to support and expand their work. Dr. Michelle had previously built a food hub system but found that OFN’s platform better suited her vision of a collaborative food hub. She appreciates OFN’s simplicity and the ability to integrate her own platform with it. Adam is hopeful that OFN will save him and his farmers a lot of time. When big orders come in it can sometimes take the entire day to inquire about inventory and fulfillment, while OFN provides this data online in real time. Adam estimates that what takes 8 hours today will take about 5 minutes when OFN is fully implemented.
The inspiration for their work comes from a desire to address health inequities and create positive, sustainable change in the community. Dr. Michelle is motivated by the impact of forced displacements on mental health and wants to provide equity in access to food and health. She aims to empower individuals through education and create a community wellness space in conjunction with her farm and food hub. Adam is focused on transitioning people from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset in their business practices and decisions, believing that there is enough to go around, and it’s possible for everyone in a community to be successful.
In this image, Ricardo Miranda, Mixtec proprietor of Bonifacio Garden, sells a variety of Central American and general produce at his RPM stand on July 9. Ricardo will be in the first wave of businesses to go live on their OFN hub site.