Growing a Sustainable Portland Metropolitan Foodshed

Final Report for SW10-143

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2010: $223,014.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Sheila Martin
Portland State University, IMS
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Project Information

Abstract:
Objectives

The goals of the study are to:

• Define the Portland Metropolitan Foodshed; identify related agricultural and economic trends and develop a needs assessment based on input from producers and other stakeholders.

• Assemble a regional toolkit of strategies to support evolution of a sustainable Portland Metropolitan Foodshed.

• Work with the City of Damascus, Oregon to test the toolkit on a local level.

• Develop a research and educational program that supports these goals and supports small- and medium-size farmers in the region.

Methodology and Timeline

We completed this project in two phases.In Phase I, we identified the key barriers and opportunities faced by urban-influenced farmers so that we could proceed with designing the toolkit in Phase II.

In Phase II, we developed tools for growers, planners and policy makers, conducted outreach to obtain feedback on the tools, then designed outreach materials which currently reside on our web site at http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/pdx-foodshed.

Data Sources

The data sources for this project included the following:

Literature review.

We conducted an extensive review of the literature covering approaches to food system analysis, case studies of regional food systems, issues facing farmers in urban areas and studies of the Portland Metropolitan foodshed.

Economic analysis.

We conducted an extensive analysis of available data about the region’s food economy.

Interviews and survey data.

To identify the key barriers, challenges and opportunities, we conducted a survey completed by 81 farmers and aspiring farmers and face-to-face interviews with five farmers. We followed up with a number of them for a second survey that assessed the toolkit. We also used the results of a survey of more than 1,000 Clackamas County agricultural producers as a source of tools recommendations.

Case Farm scenarios.

We conducted extensive case studies on three farms in the Portland metropolitan region to gain greater insight into the challenges facing their operations and to assess the usefulness of some of the tools in our toolkit.

Damascus Case Study.

We conducted a case study to assess the tools impact on Damascus, an urbanizing community in the Portland Metropolitan region.

Outputs

The primary output of this project is a set of tools that farmers and policy makers can use to overcome barriers and take advantage of opportunities for creating a more sustainable Portland metropolitan foodshed. The tools are contained in our final report and on the project web site at http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/pdx-foodshed. Intermediate outputs of the project include a vision of a sustainable Portland metropolitan foodshed, survey results that describe barriers and opportunities, a literature review, and an economic analysis of the Portland metropolitan foodshed.

Key findings

Given the challenges and opportunities facing farmers in the Portland region, we believe that the food system can benefit from the development of the tools we developed to address a number of the barriers and opportunities described.

Project Objectives:

To assess our work, we proposed a number of metrics:

• Acceptance of the concept of the Metropolitan Foodshed vision and definition by producer groups and local governments;

• Adoption of tools in the Toolkit by producers, consumers and government officials;

• New or expanded forms of partnership among producers, consumers and government officials to strengthen the regional food economy;

• The use of and acceptance of Triple Bottom Line and the Natural Step and relationship to regional agriculture by producer and public organizations;

• New links between food supply and demand and increasing the demand for and supply of local food products;

• Increasing farm performance or reducing the cost of operations from farms included in the case farm scenarios;

• Adoption of farm land policies in the City of Damascus according to the Damascus case study;

• Use of or acceptance of the Toolkit by Cooperative Extension and Soil and Water Conservation districts to focus more attention on urban and fringe agriculture.

In addition, we aimed to involve as many producers as possible in the study to ensure that the toolkit benefited from the input of a wide variety of producers.

Introduction:
Project Background and Objectives

Nationwide, farmers located in or near metropolitan areas face a number of challenges. These challenges have resulted in rapid conversion of land from farming to other uses, particularly in urban-influenced areas. From 1982 to 2003, the cultivated cropland in the U.S. fell from about 420 million acres to about 368 million acres, or a loss of about 14 percent (NRI). Crops in some areas are particularly vulnerable to development. For example, a 2001 study found that 61 percent of vegetable production is located in metropolitan areas (Heimlich and Anderson 2001). Thus, production of vegetables for local consumption may be affected by urban growth.

Despite Oregon’s progressive land use laws designed to protect farmland, Oregon and the Portland Metropolitan area are not immune from these forces. In 2006 a Clackamas County Green Ribbon Committee (GRC) made up of local growers, foresters and other sustainability minded professionals and community members conducted five industry forums to assess the needs of their peers in Clackamas County’s agriculture, natural resources and sustainability clusters. The GRC process revealed that the long-term viability of Clackamas County farms is under significant economic and regulatory threat from urban development and that there is a need for a comprehensive program that addresses challenges and promotes opportunities for urban-influenced agriculture. While there are many individual programs and initiatives, no regional assessment or strategy for a sustainable food economy exists for the Portland metropolitan region.

Project goals

Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) provided funding for this study to examine key agricultural trends, identify producer needs and define strategies to strengthen the local food production system. The goals of the study are to:

• Define the Portland Metropolitan Foodshed; identify related agricultural and economic trends and develop a needs assessment based on input from producers and other stakeholders.

• Assemble a regional toolkit of strategies to support evolution of a sustainable Portland Metropolitan Foodshed.

• Work with the City of Damascus, Oregon to test the toolkit on a local level.

• Develop a research and educational program that supports these goals and supports small- and medium-size farmers in the region.

This project differs from many other studies of the barriers and opportunities faced by farmers because it focuses specifically on farms that are trying to survive within a growing metropolitan region. While these farms face significant challenges related to urban growth, they also have significant opportunities as urban consumers begin to demand food that is grown locally and sustainably and food related experiences that can supplement farm income.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand/collapse or show everyone's info
  • Beth Emshoff
  • Steve Faust
  • Kirsten Greene
  • Sheila Martin
  • P. Elise Scolnick
  • Clark Seavert
  • Bob Short
  • Joe Siri
  • Rebecca Sullivan
  • Larry Thompson
  • Bob Wise
  • Ellen Wyoming
  • Anita Yap

Research

Materials and methods:
Data Sources

The data sources for this project included the following:

Literature review.

We conducted an extensive review of the literature covering approaches to food system analysis, case studies of regional food systems, issues facing farmers in urban areas and studies of the Portland Metropolitan foodshed.

Economic analysis.

We conducted an extensive analysis of available data about the region’s food economy.

Interviews and survey data.

To identify the key barriers, challenges and opportunities, we conducted a survey completed by 81 farmers and aspiring farmers and face-to-face interviews with five farmers. We followed up with a number of them for a second survey that assessed the toolkit. We also used the results of a survey of more than 1,000 Clackamas County agricultural producers as a source of tools recommendations.

Case Farm scenarios.

We conducted extensive case studies on three farms in the Portland metropolitan region to gain greater insight into the challenges facing their operations and to assess the usefulness of some of the tools in our toolkit.

Damascus Case Study.

We conducted a case study to assess the tools impact on Damascus, an urbanizing community in the Portland Metropolitan region.

Tool Development Process

We started with the list at the end of Chapter 3 and developed draft tools in two categories: tools for farmers/producers, policy makers and planners. We conducted extensive literature reviews looking for practices and evaluations of practices and other tools that might cover the same issues. We drafted the set of tools and then put the draft tools on our web site and asked a number of farmers and policy makers to evaluate the tools.

In order to have a thorough review of our tools for farmers, we reached out to our local partners that work directly with farmers daily. Once the draft toolkit was complete, stakeholders participated in follow-up interviews or were directed to the website to review and comment on the tools. As part of an in-depth case study in Damascus, producers, consumers and planners/policy makers reviewed and commented on the tools. We sent emails for distribution to regional CSA and farmers markets networks directing them to the website to review the tools. OSU also directed producers to the website to review the tools. In addition, a joint meeting was held with Clackamas Agricultural Investment Management Team and Multnomah Counties to review the draft tools. Finally a review session was held with six Metro staff members to review the tools.

The following groups assisted us with outreach for the Farmer Producer Toolkit:

• OSU Small Farms program
• Multnomah County Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship program
• Friends of Family Farmers

We received 38 completed responses from farmers from around the Metro area in a three week period in June. We used this feedback to make revisions to the tools.

The timeline for farmer tool review outreach was as follows:
• Farmer Survey to gather input on the draft tools was drafted at the end of April 2012.
• Outreach to Partners for help with responses occurred in May.
• We revised the tools and layout of the website based on feedback from partners at the end of May-beginning of June.
• We asked for tool review/survey responses during June.
• We analyzed the responses and made final revisions to the tools during July 2012.

The tools for policy makers and planners were identified through one round of interviews with key stakeholders, and we used the on line survey results from approximately 100 producers to help shape the tools. We conducted a detailed literature review and had conversations with officials at Metro, Clackamas County and City of Damascus to further guide toolkit development. We had detailed discussions with Clackamas County officials leading development of the Agricultural Investment Plan that closely parallels the tools developed in the SARE project. We also used the results of a survey of more than 1,000 Clackamas County agricultural producers as a source of tools recommendations.

Toolkit components

The toolkit contains 23 tools. Table 4-1 lists the tools in alphabetical order and notes their target audience for each of the tools. As you can see, there is overlap between the tools targeted at producers and those targeted at planners and policy makers.

Case Farm Scenarios

Once we developed the tools that address the key barriers and opportunities to urban influenced farming identified by growers, processors and policy makers, we tested the tools using both case farm scenarios and a case study in Damascus. This chapter describes and summarizes the results of the case farm scenario analysis. Videos of the farmers describing their farms can be found at the project web site-http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/pdx-foodshed.

Case Farm Scenario Findings

The three farms featured in the case farm scenarios are identified as follows (Note: the names of the farms and their operators have been changed to maintain confidentiality). Their locations and proximity to the Portland urbanized area are shown on the map.

Muddy Boots Farm – a small farm operation serving the Portland Metro
Hubbard Farms – a wholesale vegetable farm within the Portland Metro
Blue Fruits Farm – A beginning farm operation in the Portland Metropolitan Region.

Although each of our case study farms differed in size, market, crops and organizational structure, they confirm our survey results that indicate that farms face similar issues farming in an urban influenced area, including zoning and regulatory issues, access to adequate local markets and capital availability, among others. Each benefited from considering the opportunities and options evaluated with the producer tools in the toolkit:

• Muddy Boots farm has a strategy for extended profitability and understands the need to examine additional strategies for changing the mix of crops. Additional application of the AgToolsTM can help to evaluate those strategies.

• Hubbard Farms has the information he needs to negotiate a new price for his produce that incorporates the cost of complying with new food safety standards.

• Blue Fruits Farm understands the potential additional revenue stream from adding three acres of organic U-Pick strawberries.

Damascas Case study

One of the project’s objectives was “to ensure the toolkit will be used by and useful to farmers, planners, public officials and others who participate in and influence the market environment for local food.” Aside from the evaluation of the tools by farmers and policy makers and the application of the tools in the case farm scenarios, we also reviewed and assessed the tools in a case study in the City of Damascus involving producers, local and state planners and consumers. This chapter summarizes the methodology and findings from that case study. The full case study is included in Appendix 9.

The project team was not able to “ensure” the toolkit will be useful because none of the tools were actually adopted or implemented. We were limited to analysis of opinions on the tools to test their potential efficacy due to the lack of ability to implement, enact or adopt certain policy tools within the timeframe of the grant. Changing policies and laws requires a considerable public process, which was not possible within this grant timeframe.

Two Damascus-area commercial farms were selected to participate in the case study to review the tools in relation to their farm operations:

Thompson Farms, owned by Larry Thompson and family; growers of pesticide-free fruits and vegetables; and,Siri & Son Farms, owned by Fred, Jim and Joe Siri; commercial organic vegetable growers.

The two small farms are not necessarily representative of the farms that may use the tools, but they each have a distinct operation. Thompson sells through farmers’ markets and stands only, and Siri sells through wholesalers to local and national chain grocers only.
Each producer answered questions about the tools’ potential applicability, effectiveness and benefits to their operations, the community, economy and environment. As part of the case study, producer-participants received a set of the eleven (11) tools, listed below.

1. Economic and Market Development
A. Food Cluster Development
B. Farmers’ Markets
C. Market Development and Regional Food Distribution
D. Regional Branding

2. Food Access and Labor
E. Farm Worker Housing

3. Resource Inputs
F. Rainwater Harvesting
G. Energy Efficiency and Renewables

4. Land Use and Community Design

H. Agricultural Permitting in Urban Zones
I. Diversifying Agricultural Activities in Urban Zones
J. Transferable Development Rights

The key findings from the case study include the following:

Land use tools administered by land use regulatory agencies (state, regional, local) need to be revised or updated to reflect more integrated land use patterns that allow value-added farm activities in rural zones and farm/agricultural activities in urban zones. These changes will help diversify agriculture, increase the viability of farming, making it profitable for producers, in the hopes of retaining this use close to cities. This will potentially reduce transportation costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Tools to conserve agricultural land, such as conservation easements, transferable development rights, etcetera, may be feasible, but the costs and benefits must be clear to the public, landowners and jurisdictions.

Tools that require high expenditures by farmers/producers will not likely be introduced on the farm unless there is affordable financing or a demonstration project. This is most applicable to the rainwater harvesting and energy efficiency tools. For rainwater harvesting, federal regulatory standards may need to be considered for organic farms.

The regional marketing and branding may already be underway within a variety of organizations and formats. There may not be a need for a new organization to take on this role. This tool has limited applicability to the Portland metropolitan region.

The applicability of some of the tools should be tested after they are adopted at some jurisdictional level to really ascertain their viability. This “case analysis” was limited because, given the political situation in the City of Damascus, the tools were not adopted as had originally been intended at the time of the grant proposal.

The tools in the toolkit that have the broadest applicability for regional and statewide capacity-building through public, nonprofit and/or private partnerships are those that:

• increase access to healthy food
• improve farmworker housing options
• enhance market development and regional food distribution
• support farmers markets
• encourage food cluster development
• increase agency and institutional procurement
• increase exports
• increase import substitution

Some of the tools require changes in state and/or local land use planning standards, such as

• agricultural permitting in urban zones, and
• diversification of agricultural activities in rural zones.

Changing state laws and updating state and local codes is a long-term prospect. Some work has been done at the legislative level to address the diversification issue through passage of HB 3280 and SB 960. The subsequent work to be done involves counties and cities updating their policies and codes to reflect the legislative changes. The diversification tool should be updated to reflect the legislative changes.

Market development and regional food distribution are already being done at some level, but increased coordinated efforts could provide the assistance that is needed through partnership with distributors and processors for additional value-added services that provide top-quality products to buyers and bring high value prices back to the grower, as stated by Farmer Thompson. While Oregon Fresh Market Grower’s Association (OFMGA) does some of the work statewide, more regional level work is needed, as indicated in the tool.

Clackamas County is addressing the potential for implementation of many of the proposed tools in their Draft Agriculture and Foodshed Strategic Plan (May 2012). This report was finalized and approved by the Board of County Commissioners in July, 2012. The implementation of many of these tools may be realized in the work that results from the Plan within Clackamas County. One other county in the Portland Metropolitan Foodshed, Multnomah, is similarly working on efforts to improve the foodshed. Efforts are needed in Washington and Columbia Counties.

As for the City of Damascus, it is at a crossroads of rural and urban existence, a perfect laboratory for use of these tools, if and when there is an opportunity to put them into play.

Research results and discussion:
Producer Participation

*We engaged between 150 and 195 farmers in this project. The uncertainty in the total count stems from possible overlap in the different kinds of input we received.

*For the initial survey that helped us to identify key barriers and opportunities, 81 growers completed the survey on-line and another 65 completed part or all of the survey at the Northwest Horticulture Society meetings.

*We conducted face-to-face interviews with five growers in the first phase of the data collection effort.

*We engaged three farmers in case farm scenarios.

*We interviewed two farmers as part of the Damascus case study;
38 producers evaluated the farmer tools.

Barriers and Opportunities

Based on data collected from farmers, the literature review and stakeholder interviews, we developed a preliminary list of opportunities for overcoming the gaps, barriers and challenges identified in the previous section, as well as potential tools and strategies to strengthen the Portland metropolitan food economy. These strategies have significant potential to increase the stability and economic return of farming in the urban influenced area of the Portland metropolitan region.

Export Expansion

Exports of food and food products will continue to be a major feature of the Oregon and regional food economy. State agricultural exports were estimated to be $1.5 billion in 2008, with the largest exports being wheat at $285 million, planting seeds at $280 million, fruits and preparations at $209 million, and vegetables and preparations at $133 million (USDA 2009).

Opportunity: Increase exports from small- and medium-sized farms through distributors such as Organically Grown Company, Aramark and other distributors.

Potential benefits: Increased income to the region and individual growers.

Potential Tools and Strategies: Regional producers and distributors need to know which crops or processed products have most potential for export. An on-line target market database is needed to detail the food products for export and the best ways to integrate them into distribution channels. New export distribution channels may be necessary.

Import Substitution

Import substitution is an economic development strategy with major potential for the regional foodshed economy. The region currently consumes an estimated 1.5 percent regional farm sales.

Opportunity: If this amount was to increase to 20 percent of food regional food purchases, this would put approximately $940 million per year into the regional food economy – if exports stayed steady. This would provide significant economic benefit to the regional growers and more healthy food for consumers.

Another way to look at this is that the opportunity for the region is $4.7 billion. If all food currently imported from outside the region was locally produced, it would generate $4.7 billion in food income. A more realistic target would aim for an increase of 10 percent per decade for the next twenty years. This action would generate, at a minimum, $470 million in increased local economic activity, assuming adequate capacity to increase production by that amount.

Potential Tools and Strategies: Regional growers need to know which products to target for production and processing that have a ready local market channel. An on-line target market database is needed to detail food products for local consumption and define the best ways to integrate them into the distribution channels. The Ecotrust Food Hub (www.ecotrust.org/foodhub/) can be strengthened and physical food hub studies should be considered, such as the proposed James Beard Public Market in Portland.

Value-Added Processing

Value-added food products will continue to be a major feature of the regional food economy, and the region has significant food processing expertise. Currently small-scale processing locations, such as USDA certified collective kitchens and small-medium meat processors, do not appear to be adequate to the potential demand.

Opportunity: Stimulate a regional infrastructure of small-scale food processing facilities for small- and medium-growers to increase value of food produced in the region and potential for exports.

Potential Tools and Strategies: Develop a vision and action plan for a regional network of food processing facilities that serve small- and medium-sized growers based on global best practices.

Improved Distribution

Findings: A major challenge for small growers is to bring their produce and other products to market efficiently. Small growers serving farmers’ market and other markets of regional food may have as many as ten different delivery locations a week. In addition, small growers do not necessarily have the farm practices (for quality and timing) to gain access to larger West Coast and global markets through food distribution companies such as Provista and Organically Grown Company.

Opportunity: Develop a distribution cooperative that help growers access markets more systematically and efficiently. Provide a focus for growers to improve the energy and time efficiency of their distribution process, provide information on supply and demand for products, shared pick-up and drop-off sites and other techniques to reduce the cost of distribution.

Potential Tools and Strategies: Develop a vision of a regional network for farm product distribution to serve small- and medium-sized growers based on best practices in other regions.

Better Access to Healthy Local Food for Consumers

As described in the Import Substitution section, Oregon consumes a very small percentage of the food that is grown in this region.

Opportunity: If this amount was to increase to 20 percent of regional food purchases, this would put approximately 900 million per year into the regional food economy – if exports stayed steady. This would provide significant economic benefit to the regional growers and more healthy food for consumers. Among the key opportunities is the possibility of focusing on addressing the twin challenges in Oregon of obesity and hunger

Potential Tools and Strategies: Develop a specific import substitution strategy that builds on expansion of small- and medium-sized growers in the region and increases their access to markets. Develop cross-sector approach — engaging public, private, non-profit, philanthropic, institutional and communities of faith - to creating economic development opportunities while serving consumers with healthy food.

Regional Food Cluster Development

At the current time, the regional food economy is not a selected cluster for focus by regional economic development organizations, such as Greater Portland, Inc. and the Portland Development Commission. However, both Clackamas and Multnomah counties have made foodshed economic development important economic development goals. In addition, Metro and most local governments continue to focus on protection of prime productive farmland and not on the economic vitality of regional farming.

Opportunity: In order to maximize the potential and linkages within the regional foodshed economy, regional public agencies need to identify the foodshed economic cluster as an economic development focus. Linkages among the elements of the food economic system need to more clearly understood.

Potential Tools and Strategies: Development of a foodshed economic cluster strategy and a regional civic ecology inventory, analysis, plan and key performance indicators can help define current and potential linkages in the system to benefit producers, processors, distributors and consumers.

Improving Access to Capital

Farmers identify the need for capital sources as a primary need for farm improvement and expansion.

Opportunity: Innovative approaches to providing capital to growers and information on capital sources will allow expansion and diversification of the farm economy. Increased capital access will result in grower access to land, water, labor and specialized equipment.

Potential Tools and Strategies: Improve access to existing and potential financial resources and intermediaries. Potential approaches include: pension fund investments, agricultural development banks, agricultural venture funds, mutual funds, cooperative private placements, farmland trusts and cooperative forms of ownership. Technical assistance tools include education and training packages and on-line databases.

Making Land Available for Growing Food

Many farmers would like to increase their land base but cannot due to a lack of capital, conflicts with neighbors, urban growth and related uncertainties, or conflicting adjacent land uses.

Opportunity: Because the region has a large amount of productive land available for food production or more intensive production, there are several land use opportunities. These include, where economically viable: transition crops from nursery stocks and Christmas trees to food on prime land, produce food on marginal land, use urban transition land for food production, use urban agriculture strategies in urban development, employment lands and open space, and provide for distributed production sites in urban and suburban areas.

Potential Tools and Strategies: Expanded right-to-farm statutes, changes to model local ordinances, urban farming ordinances and plans for distributed site farming in the urban and suburban land uses.

Improving Water Resources

Water is a critical factor in production, and farmers often do not control sufficient water sources to meet their needs.

Opportunity: The region is seen as water rich. Focusing on efficient (lower) and effective (multiple benefits) water use is a key opportunity to expand regional foodshed agriculture.

Potential Tools and Strategies: A total water cycle plan for regional agriculture would provide a comprehensive analysis of supply and demand and how efficiency and effectiveness strategies can provide more water for the foodshed. Plan elements would include all water sources (rain, surface, well, surface and stream water), storage, distribution, consumption and reuse (wastewater treatment systems). For example, Oregon receives rain seasonally in the winter and spring, while the prime growing season in summer and early fall is usually dry. Harvesting and storing rainwater can increase water available to growers.

Strengthening the Food System Labor Force

Labor issues include inspections, hygiene and safety, workers compensation and unemployment claims, access to/provision of affordable housing, documentation and the future of guest worker programs.

Opportunity: Develop tools to provide a more stable, educated and trained labor force.

Potential Tools and Strategies: Training packages for existing workers, especially in safety and hygiene. Expanding of the guest worker program. Support development of safe and sanitary housing communities on farms and in agricultural communities as well as programs that focus on the health and educational needs of children. In addition, there may also be a need to examine the role way labor inspections are conducted.

Education and Management

Many farmers are unable to access farm business education services, including business planning, management, marketing and finance. Currently there are few academic programs focused on urban foodshed agriculture, business operations and the special needs of these growers.

Opportunity: Develop a linked set of programs tailored to the needs of the emerging metropolitan farm economy.

Potential Tools and Strategies: Oregon State University and Portland State University could work with one or more of the region’s three community college systems to develop a set of linked programs or courses to meet the needs of the regional foodshed growers. Ideally, there would be an integrated on-line and course work curriculum available for different types of growers.

Regulations and Requirements

Most farms require supplemental income to remain economically viable. Regulation is identified as one of the biggest barriers to generating new diverse on farmer and related income streams.

Opportunity: While maintaining a strong land use protections for farmland, there are opportunities to change land use laws and regulations to accommodate a greater range of grower supplemental income opportunities.

Potential Tools and Strategies: Develop a model farm economy land use planning and regulatory framework designed to strengthen farm-related income and farm viability addressing accessory uses, farm stands, agri-tourism, direct sales, u-pick, fertilizer production, events and other potential sources of income. Farm-related building regulations may need to be modified to accommodate four-season growing structures such as large scale greenhouses.

Transportation

Farmers who travel to reach their markets travel an average of 32.5 miles. There is no coordinated farm-to-market transportation system for small growers with diverse markets.

Opportunity: There appears to be an opportunity to reduce costs to growers and reduce GHG production from farm-to-market trips.

Potential Tools and Strategies: Several strategies should be considered. One, a cooperative transportation system that would be designed specifically to reduce the cost and greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts of farm to market trips. Another approach would be to develop a self-managed and web-based system, possibly through the Ecotrust Food Hub, to allow growers to share transportation to market. Another possibility is transportable processing services, such as mobile slaughterhouses.

Energy

Growers use a significant amount of energy in the form of motor fuels, electricity and natural gas, and these supplies are getting more expensive over time.

Opportunity: There appears to be opportunities for growers to conserve energy and substitute bio fuels, small-scale hydro, solar and wind energy for current non-renewable supplies.

Potential Tools and Strategies: Several strategies should be considered. On-farm energy conservation and renewable production strategies should become a focus of innovation by Cooperative Extension and the Soil Conservation Districts. At this point in time, demonstration and prototype development can produce replicable projects. Adjoining growers might also work together in an Agricultural Energy District (like an urban ecodistrict) to share costs and benefits of larger scale renewable systems.

Marketing

Many farmers would like marketing support, such as assistance with websites, marketing, advertising and farm membership systems.

Opportunity: Increase marketing capacity through education and regional branding.

Potential Tools and Strategies: Develop a marketing educational and low cost consulting or peer-to-peer service for growers to build their marketing capability. Develop a regional brand so consumers can determine local sourcing.

Ownership/Succession Management

Many farmers plan to transfer land/farm ownership but do not have land/farm transference plans formalized in a legal document.

Opportunity: Provide easy access to information and educational programs on alternatives for succession planning and related legal and financial tools.

Potential Tools and Strategies: Develop on-line and educational courses and a handbook on succession planning including relatives, employees (including farm labor), cooperatives, land trusts, bank trusts, institutional ownership, public agencies and other ownerships.

Research conclusions:
Acceptance of the Foodshed Vision

To quantify our second metric, acceptance of the foodshed vision and definition, we engaged policy makers and producers in an on-line survey and asked them to indicate the degree to which they agree with the statements listed in Table 7-1. Their answers are also tallied in the table.

Among the four policy makers and 37 producers who responded, most were positive about the vision and about policies that would move us toward that vision. There was some disagreement about whether the vision is attainable.

Tool Acceptance and Adoption

To measure the extent to which the tools would be accepted and adopted, we put draft versions of the tools online and asked for feedback from policy makers and producers regarding their usefulness and relevance. We set up an online survey to collect responses after the respondents reviewed the website and tools.

Outreach to farmers involved direct requests to farmers we had been in touch with before, such as the case study farms, and each partner organization sent out emails and personal requests to their contacts with follow-up emails and phone calls to complete the survey.

The following groups assisted us with outreach:
• OSU Small Farms program
• Multnomah County Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship program
• Friends of Family Farmers

We received four completed responses from policy makers and 38 completed responses from farmers from around the Metro area in a three week period in June. The detailed results of the evaluation are in Appendix 10.

Policy Tool Evaluation

About four planners/policy makers completed the assessment of the policy tools. We asked them the following questions:

• This tool is easy to understand.
• This tool is relevant to the issues I face in my planning and policy work
• This tool provides new information or strategies that I have not seen or tried before
• I will use this tool to address my farm planning issues

Of the four responses from planners, most agreed that the tools were easy to understand and would be somewhat useful to address farm planning issues.

Consumer Tool Evaluation

Several of the tools are aimed at consumers who want to know more about access to healthy food, farmers markets, and institutional and agency procurement. As part of the Damascus case study, we asked consumers in Damascus to tell us whether the tool was easy to understand and whether it would be relevant.

Only six consumers completed the evaluation of the consumer tools. We asked them only two questions about the tools:

• This tool is easy to understand
• This tool is relevant to customers

They were generally positive about the tool.

Producer Tool Evaluation

With respect to the producer tools, we received feedback from 38 producers, although not all respondents answered each of the questions. We asked producers to agree or disagree with the following statement:

• Generally these tools are easy to understand
• These tools area relevant to the issues I face in my farm operation
• These tools provide new information or strategies that I have not seen or tried before
• I will use these tools to address my farming or farm planning issues

The farmers were generally positive about the tools, especially the market development and business education and management tools. Twenty-one of the 32 respondents said that they would use the land access and use tools; 27 said that they would use the market development tools, and 26 said that they would use the business education and management tools, and 23 said that they would use the resource input tools. The one area where the producers seemed somewhat negative was toward the idea that this was new information that they had not seen before.

New or Expanded Forms of Partnerships

The Portland region is currently evolving rapidly with multiple food-related partnerships and initiatives. This is especially true in Multnomah and Clackamas Counties. Both counties have developed food/agriculture strategies that have been informed directly by the SARE project research and were prepared with assistance from SARE Project Sub-Contractor, Cogan Owens Cogan. Partnerships in Washington County are addressing the increased need to address hunger and improve nutrition. The County is not currently a participant in the local food movement that is being advanced by Clackamas and Multnomah Counties. Yamhill County is focused on two major dimensions of the food system – the globally significant wine agricultural economy and related visitation and tourism development.

Multnomah County, with hundreds of stakeholders, developed the Multnomah Food Initiative Action Plan (http://multfood.org/Action_Plan_and_Reports). The Multnomah Food Action Plan builds upon the existing work of the community by providing a roadmap with a shared community vision and goals. It addresses: increasing production of local food, healthy eating, social equity in the food system and economic vitality. The Action Plan has been endorsed by over 500 organizations and stakeholders who are committed to carrying it out. In addition, Multnomah County worked in collaboration with Clackamas County on the Clackamas County Agriculture and Foodshed Strategic Plan.

Clackamas County has developed a multi-year Agricultural Investment Plan that includes a Clackamas County Agricultural and Foodshed Strategic Plan. The Plan is regional and is scope based on SARE research and extensive outreach to over 5,000 producers in the County. More than 1,000 producers completed the survey, which was modeled after the survey instrument used for SARE project outreach. In addition, Clackamas conducted a parallel survey with producers and distributors in the region, receiving more than 30 responses.

Based on the work of SARE research, in coordination with the Multnomah Food Initiative, Clackamas County produced a detailed action plan that engages state and local government, Multnomah County, producer organizations and citizens in a multi-year action plan to strengthen the regional foodshed economy. The Clackamas County Agricultural Investment Plan includes a matrix (see Appendix 10) that details the actions and partnerships proposed with Multnomah County and several other public, private and non-profit partners. The action plan addresses:

1. Agriculture Economic Cluster Strategy
2. Import Substitution and Exports
3. By Product Resources Business Models
4. Specialty and Organic Agriculture
5. Aggregation (Processing, Distribution and Consumption)
6. New Markets
7. Farm Ownership, Succession and New Farmers
8. Small Business Assistance and Training
9. Labor
10. Diversification/Ag. Tourism

Use of Triple Bottom Line and Natural Step

As indicated above in this chapter, acceptance of the foodshed vision and definition of sustainability was relatively strong. Of the 4 policy makers and 37 producers who responded, most were positive about the vision and about policies that would move us toward that vision. There was some disagreement about whether the vision is attainable.

The use of the Triple Bottom Line and Natural Step are currently used in the sustainability planning of both Clackamas and Multnomah Counties and in the Metro regional government’s sustainability program. This project surfaced, for the first time as far as we were able to determine, the development and application of advanced sustainability concepts to a regional foodshed system. The sustainability concepts are integrated in the Policy Makers and Planners toolkit. More work is needed to apply the vision to foodshed strategies and regional economic development planning.

Better Linkages between Supply and Demand

The new and expanded partnerships section above and the Implementation Matrix for Clackamas County identify several strategies being pursued by the County and multiple partners to strengthen linkages between supply and demand. In addition, as indicated in the Policy Makers and Planners toolkit several tools address increased linkages between supply and demand including:

• Economic and Market Development
• Food Cluster Development
• Import Substitution
• Increasing Exports
• Market Development and Regional Food Distribution
• Farmers' Markets
• Institutional and Agency Procurement
• Regional Branding
• Food Access and Labor
• Access to Healthy Food

Increasing Farm Performance/Reducing Costs

The case farm scenarios gave us an opportunity to apply some of the tools directly to a farm’s business case and test their benefits and applicability. Each of the farms benefited from applying the tools.

• Muddy Boots farm has a strategy for extended profitability and understands the need to examine additional strategies for changing the mix of crops. Additional application of the AgToolsTM can help to evaluate those strategies.

• Hubbard Farms has the information he needs to negotiate a new price for his produce that incorporates the cost of complying with new food safety standards.

• Blue Fruits Farm understands the potential additional revenue stream from adding three acres of organic U-Pick strawberries.

Adoption of Land Policies in the City of Damascas

The City of Damascus has struggled to adopt a Comprehensive Plan land use plan that is acceptable to the local residents, many of whom are reluctant to see community changes implemented in a historically rural area. Thus, these policies have not been adopted.

Many of the tools proposed in the 2010 Damascus Comprehensive Plan, Envision Damascus, were similar to those proposed in the toolkit, such as tools to preserve agricultural land and low impact development strategies; i.e. energy efficiency, rainwater harvesting, etc. The previous inclusion of some of the study’s policy tools in Envision Damascus, indicates that there may be future acceptance of these types of tools from the toolkit in the next version of the City’s Comprehensive Plan, which would provide the opportunity for use and future analysis of the toolkit.

We expect that outreach to growers, planners, policymakers and consumers will help to increase acceptance of these tools and increase the likelihood that they will be included in the new plan.

Use of or Acceptance of Toolkit by Cooperative Extension, soil and water conservation districts

This project included active participation by Oregon State University Cooperative Extension in the Metro area. The Clackamas County OSU Extension and the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District are included in implementation of the Clackamas County Agricultural Investment Plan based in part on the SARE project.

Participation Summary

Educational & Outreach Activities

Participation Summary:

Education/outreach description:
Outreach Materials

We developed a number of outreach materials to aid in the development of this project. They include:

• A project information sheet that explained the basic objectives and workplan for the project;
• Grower survey to collect information about the barriers and opportunities;
• The Toolkit, containing policy, producer, and consumer tools;
• The web site that provides access to the tools and related resources at http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/pdx-foodshed.

Producer Outreach

*We engaged between 150 and 195 farmers in this project. The uncertainty in the total count stems from possible overlap in the different kinds of input we received.

*For the initial survey that helped us to identify key barriers and opportunities, 81 growers completed the survey online and another 65 completed part or all of the survey at the Northwest Horticulture Society meetings.

*We conducted face-to-face interviews with five growers in the first phase of the data collection effort.

*We engaged three farmers in case farm scenarios.

*We interviewed two farmers as part of the Damascus case study;
38 producers evaluated the farmer tools.

Planner /Policymaker Outreach

The tools for policy makers and planners were identified through one round of interviews with key stakeholders, and we used the online survey results from approximately 100 producers to help shape the tools. We conducted a detailed literature review and had conversations with officials at Metro, Clackamas County and City of Damascus to further guide toolkit development. We had detailed discussions with Clackamas County officials leading development of the Agricultural Investment Plan that closely parallels the tools developed in the SARE project. We also used the results of a survey of more than 1,000 Clackamas County agricultural producers as a source of tools recommendations.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

We conducted an extensive review of the economy of the Portland Metropolitan foodshed; the full report is contained in Appendix 3. The following points summarize the most significant findings from that review.

Farms and farmers in Oregon are diverse.

• Oregon is one of the strongest agricultural states in the nation in terms of length of growing season, quality of agricultural soils, and the diversity and quantity of food crops that are produced.
• Oregon has less industrialized agriculture than other states because of the diversity of farm products and size of farms, with high production of specialty crops, such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and nursery crops.
• Small Oregon farming operations or adaptive farms tend to have average gross sales per acre that are about twice as high as the overall farm average.
• Oregon has a strong base of multi-generational family farms and emerging farmers, such as immigrants and a younger generation with a renewed interest in farming. However, farms owned by young farmers are still rare — 85% of all farms in Oregon are owned by farmers over the age of 45, and 28 percent are owned by farmers 65 and over.

Oregon food markets are also diversifying into new markets that present significant opportunity.

• Between 2002 and 2007, the number of Oregon farms in organic production increased from 515 to 933 and from 1.3% of total farms to 2.4%.
• Between 2002 and 2007, the market value of Oregon’s organic farm sales rose from about $9.9 million to $88.4 million or from 0.3% of total farm sales to 1.9%.
• According to the Oregon Farm Bureau, three quarters of what is produced in Oregon is exported to other states and overseas with one quarter sold in Oregon.
• Regional foodshed farmers spend $740 million per year (1969-2009 average) to raise their crops, $475 million of which is spent buying inputs sourced outside the region (Bureau of Economic Analysis 2009).
• There is an opportunity to develop Oregon’s regional food infrastructure for storage, processing, marketing and distribution that supports the community food system movement, especially for small- and mid-sized growers.
• Direct farmer-to-consumer sales is a relatively small part of the regional foodshed economy at $12 million This is estimated to be 1.5 percent of farm sales and 0.25 percent of the region’s consumer market. A 10 percent substitution of locally produced food and for imports would potentially generate $430 million in local income.
• Portland metropolitan agriculture is an important industrial cluster in the region’s economy, comprising nine percent of total regional employment (Brookings Institution 2011).
• Agri-tourism is popular and has potential to provide additional income to improve economic sustainability for farmers.

Oregon consumers can benefit from a more sustainable food system.
• The region’s consumers spend more than $4.3 billion buying food sourced outside the Portland region. Thus, total loss to the region is approximately $4.7 billion of potential wealth each year (see caveats below) (Ken Meter 2011). This loss amounts to nearly five times the value of all farm products now produced in the region. The value of imported food is greater than that of the entire food production of the State of Oregon.
• Oregon currently ranks second among all states for the number of people who are forced to skip or reduce the size of their meals because they cannot afford enough food (termed very low food security).
• Portland metropolitan residents, organizations and governments value agriculture and locally-grown food.

Oregon farm and food policy needs improvement
• While Oregon’s land use laws have protected agricultural acreage, they may also have constrained the development of adaptive farms and agricultural tourism.
• There are significant land use, policy, economic and other barriers to the long-term success of local growers.
• Many local governments and institutions are exploring opportunities to buy local food products.

There are significant gaps in the available literature.
• It is very difficult to find reliable estimates of total regional imports and exports.
• There are few sources of reliable economic multipliers for various parts of the Portland metropolitan foodshed economy.
• We also have no source of detailed needs and issues faced by local growers and strategies to diversify their incomes.
• The types, certifications, and economic costs and benefits of sustainable farming methods used in local agriculture are not clearly identified.
• The economic impact/opportunity of food waste has not been quantified.
• Information on the regional food processing industry is limited.

Use of or Acceptance of Toolkit by Cooperative Extension, Soil and Water conservation Districts

This project included active participation by Oregon State University Cooperative Extension in the Metro area. The Clackamas County OSU Extension and the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District are included in implementation of the Clackamas County Agricultural Investment Plan based in part on the SARE project.

Farmer Adoption

To measure the extent to which the tools would be accepted and adopted, we put draft versions of the tools online and asked for feedback from policy makers and producers regarding their usefulness and relevance. We set up an online survey to collect responses after the respondents reviewed the website and tools.

Outreach to farmers involved direct requests to farmers we had been in touch with before, such as the case study farms, and each partner organization sent out emails and personal requests to their contacts with follow-up emails and phone calls to complete the survey.

The following groups assisted us with outreach:
• OSU Small Farms program
• Multnomah County Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship program
• Friends of Family Farmers

We received four completed responses from policy makers and 38 completed responses from farmers from around the Metro area in a three week period in June. The detailed results of the evaluation are in Appendix 10.

Policy Tool Evaluation

About four planners/policy makers completed the assessment of the policy tools. We asked them the following questions:

• This tool is easy to understand.
• This tool is relevant to the issues I face in my planning and policy work
• This tool provides new information or strategies that I have not seen or tried before
• I will use this tool to address my farm planning issues

Of the four responses from planners, most agreed that the tools were easy to understand and would be somewhat useful to address farm planning issues.

Consumer Tool Evaluation

Several of the tools are aimed at consumers who want to know more about access to healthy food, farmers markets, and institutional and agency procurement. As part of the Damascus case study, we asked consumers in Damascus to tell us whether the tool was easy to understand and whether it would be relevant.

Only six consumers completed the evaluation of the consumer tools. We asked them only two questions about the tools:
• This tool is easy to understand
• This tool is relevant to customers

They were generally positive about the tool.

Producer Tool Evaluation

With respect to the producer tools, we received feedback from 38 producers, although not all respondents answered each of the questions. We asked producers to agree or disagree with the following statement:
• Generally these tools are easy to understand
• These tools area relevant to the issues I face in my farm operation
• These tools provide new information or strategies that I have not seen or tried before
• I will use these tools to address my farming or farm planning issues

The farmers were generally positive about the tools, especially the market development and business education and management tools. Twenty-one of the 32 respondents said that they would use the land access and use tools; 27 said that they would use the market development tools, 26 said that they would use the business education and management tools, and 23 said that they would use the resource input tools. The one area where the producers seemed somewhat negative was toward the idea that this was new information that they had not seen before.

Acceptance of the Foodshed Vision

To quantify our second metric, acceptance of the foodshed vision and definition, we engaged policy makers and producers in an online survey and asked them to indicate the degree to which they agree with the statements listed in Table 7-1. Their answers are also tallied in the table.

Among the four policy makers and 37 producers who responded, most were positive about the vision and about policies that would move us toward that vision. There was some disagreement about whether the vision is attainable.

Future Adoption

This project included active participation by Oregon State University Cooperative Extension in the Metro area. The Clackamas County OSU Extension and the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District are included in implementation of the Clackamas County Agricultural Investment Plan based in part on the SARE project. Both Clackamas and Multnomah County also participated, and we expect additional adoption of the producer and policymaker tools to occur through these institutions.

Recommendations:

Areas needing additional study

• It is very difficult to find reliable estimates of total regional imports and exports.
• There are few sources of reliable economic multipliers for various parts of the Portland metropolitan foodshed economy.
• We also have no source of detailed needs and issues faced by local growers and strategies to diversify their incomes.
• The types, certifications, and economic costs and benefits of sustainable farming methods used in local agriculture are not clearly identified.
• The economic impact/opportunity of food waste has not been quantified.
• Information on the regional food processing industry is limited.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.