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Sponsorship program supports C.O. farmers

Adopt a Farmer program bridges gap between buyers and local farmers

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Central Oregon Locavore, a non-profit in Bend, announced Wednesday it has launched a sponsorship program called Adopt a Farmer to continue supporting local farmers. 

Locavore board members describe the goal behind the program as “the concept that a rising tide raises all boats,” and said the foodscape in Central Oregon begins with local farmers.

The Locavore marketplace is not designed to generate any profits, but to provide a venue for local farmers to sell their product for a living wage, and ensure that the community has access to their products at an affordable price. It’s celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show Oregon’s agriculture and food industry makes up at least 13% percent of all Oregon sales. That’s an estimated $50 billion. The USDA says there are nearly 1,500 farms in Deschutes County, with a market value of products sold totaling more than $28 million.

And yet, the local farming culture depends on community support to stay alive.

“People don’t know how hard it is to farm,” Julie Reber, a Locavore board member, told NewsChannel 21 Wednesday. “It’s hard to make a living on farming, which is why people have separate jobs. I’m a principal broker, so I have to do something else.”

Reber said the money from the Adopt a Farmer program will go toward educating farmers how to market and price their products, and helping them decide how much product is needed during certain months, depending on demand.

Katie Funk, who works at the Locavore store, said from the buyer's standpoint, it is important to know where your food is coming from.

“There’s a synergistic energy between you and the food you eat and when it comes from the place where you live. Then you have a deeper connection to that food,” Funk said.

To learn more about Central Oregon Locavore and the Adopt a Farmer program, visit their website at

Article Topic Follows: News
local farmers
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Rhea Panela

Rhea Panela is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Rhea here.


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