In 2010 Central Oregon Locavore planted an idea to make fresh, local food available to the community of central Oregon via a year-round online farmers market. The project started with just three farmers and a handful of customers, coordinated out of the home of Nicolle Timm, the founder and instigator of Locavore, and then later operated out of a shared space with a local garden store.
Our humble roots: Central Oregon Locavore's very first home...
Our humble roots: Central Oregon Locavore's second home (shared with Celebrate The Season garden store)
Now two years later, Central Oregon Locavore has 170 registered sellers on the website, and customers from all over the Central Oregon region that shop the online marketplace. Locavore also founded and now co-organizes and maintains several projects that educate and engage the community in the local food movement, including Willing Workers on Local Farms (WWOLF), which takes groups of volunteers out to farms who sell via Locavore to help with a day of hard work and enjoy a meal from the farm; Farm Kids!-Kids Dig It, which coordinates field trips for school children to visit local farms and learn about where food comes from and why eating healthy is important; and Meet Your Farmer Dinners, meant to connect the community with local farmers through a meal of their products prepared by local chefs and presentations by the farmer. Other programs include Edible Adventure Crew, Fruit and Food Mapping Project, Pop-Up Farmers Markets, Locavore Holiday Gift Faire and Fill Your Pantry Fall Harvest Market.
A WWOLF Crew out on Dancing Cow Farm
The online marketplace includes many different products, the majority of which are grown, raised or produced locally. A small sample of the available items include vegetables and fruits, meats, eggs, dairy products, flour, herbs, beers, wines, teas and sauces. There are also products available that are produced outside the Central Oregon region. These are products which are not available locally and have been “best-sourced,” using high standards such as organic, fair and direct-trade, sustainably produced and closest to home. Currently online orders are due by Tuesday and orders are then retrieved from the Locavore pick-up sites the following Thursday. Producers are directly connected to the website, see the orders for their products, and then deliver them to Locavore on Thursday morning. Volunteers put the customer orders together, and customers arrive to pick up their orders. Locavore has a very small marketplace at the drop-site stocked with shelf-stable local goods that customers may add to their orders.
NicolleTimm, coordinator, with a box of fresh produce, eggs and jam ready for customer pick up!
Right now, Central Oregon Locavore is housed in a small shared space with limited ability to expand, and is only open for the two hours of pick up on Thursday. Because both Locavore and their "roomate" are rapidly growing and expanding, the space is no longer the best option for Locavore. The vision for the new space is to have a kind of every day farmers market, where shoppers can come on a more regular basis to find the fresh, local products they have been getting only once a week. Customers and farmers alike have been expressing a desire for this kind of market to take place in Central Oregon.
A new space for Central Oregon Locavore would serve as the new central headquarters for the many educational programs that operate in collaboration with Locavore, a meeting space for volunteers and local producers, and space to hold workshops and coordinate community events. We call this a RegionalFood Hub.
It would mean the creation of a place that is much more than a store where producers sell their products: it would allow for the community to connect with where their food comes from, to engage with the producers, and to build relationships within the community. It also strengthens the ability of consumers to directly impact the farmers and producers in their community, help support the local economy, and provide good, living wage jobs for the producers.
Locavore has partnered with sister business, Agricultural Connections to make the dream of a Regional Food Hub a reality, as well as many other local food organizations in our area including the Local Commerce Alliance Non-Profit, Jobs With Justice, Central Oregon Food Policy Council, Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council and Celebrate The Season.
Locavore is just a part of the much bigger movement happening in central Oregon and across the nation. Nicolle Timm, founder of Central Oregon Locavore says, “The local food movement is the fastest growing segment of agriculture in the United States according to the USDA. Central Oregon has undoubtedly embraced this movement and we desperately need a local food community headquarters where the public can easily access local food, learn about where to plug in and get to know the local farmers.”
Locavore booth at the Earth Day Fair 2012!
In order to become a sustainable organization, we need a space where producers can reliably sell their products to consumers, and where those consumers can make conscious and informed decisions about the foods they consume and products they use. We need a food hub!
Central Oregon Locavore is 100% volunteer operated and we do not currently make a profit with our limited space.
We need your support. Help Us Grow! Please donate today to help support local food hub & headquarters in Central Oregon!
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