Food System Resources

The term "food system" includes all processes involved in keeping us fed: growing, harvesting, processing (or transforming/changing), packaging, transporting, marketing, consuming and disposing of food and food packages. It also includes the inputs needed and outputs generated at each step. The food system operates within and is influenced by social, political, economic and natural environments. Each step is also dependent on human resources that provide labor, research and education. Sustainable gardening/farming is the production of food, plants, or animals using environmentally friendly techniques. Local produce can be acquired through growing your own, shopping locally produced food e.g. at the farmers' market or local CSA's.

Local Food in Washington County

variety of vegetables

Farmers' Markets: To see a complete list of Washington County farmers markets and to search for farmers' markets near you click here 

Farm Map: To Search by produce or farm name click here

Guide to Local U-pick farms and farm stands Open/View


OSU Extension Food System Resources for Farmers and Gardeners

Small Farms Program

Oregon Small Farm Beginning Farmers program provides resources to get started with your very own Small Farm. There are small acreage enterprise, growing farms, sustainable business, and other resources to read. Oregon Small Farms Program serves local commercial small farms as well as non-commercial small acreage landowners.

OSU Department of Horticulture Sustainable Food & Farming Systems is committed to sustainable food systems and production of fruits, nuts, berries, vegetables, and specialty crops.

Oregon Small Farm News is a free online newsletter that concentrates on both commercial small farm entrepreneurs as well as non-commercial small acreage landowners. 

Farm Direct, Value Added 

Oregon’s Farm Direct Law allows farmers to turn what they grow into low-risk, value-added foods like jams and pickles, to sell direct to consumers, without being a licensed food processor. That sentence – like the law itself – has a lot of detail packed into it. This short guide unpacks those details for farmers and farmers’ market managers. (It’s handy for other people, too.). Click here to see A Resource Guide to Making and Selling Food in Oregon 

Home Baking Bill

In 2016, the Oregon Legislature created the Home Bakery Exemption, which allows people to produce certain baked goods and confectionary items in their home kitchens and sell them directly to consumers without having to be licensed as a food establishment. This short guide explains the basics and answers common questions about the Exemption. Click here to see Oregon's Home Baking Bill FAQ

Urban Farming 

Despite the nationwide decline, some young city slickers see a future in farming. They might not have the experience of their elders but they’ve got energy and passion. They’ve got blogs, they’re having babies, and they’ve traded their Calvin Kleins for Carhartts. They’ve also got Oregon State University on their side. Find out more in the Growing Optimism article in the Oregon's Agricultural Progress magazine.


Growing your own produce at home

OSU Extension Service Master Gardeners are trained through OSU to offer the public Reliable, Relevant and Reachable sustainable gardening information and education opportunities for home gardeners. Call us on the phone, email us a question, or visit with us at markets or gardens

Growing Your Own: A practical guide to food gardening in Oregon View/Open

Growing food on limited budget: Oregon Food Bank and OSU Extension Service's Seed to Supper is a beginning gardening course giving adults gardening tools they need to grow their own food on a limited budget.

Nutrition Education

Nutrition Education Program (NEP) provides resources for families and educators. The Extension Nutrition Education Program is a community based program delivered by OSU Extension Service faculty and staff  to adults and youth in 36 Oregon counties. Extension contracts with Oregon Department of Human Services SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education) to bring nutrition education to limited income Oregonians.

Food Hero has quick, tasty, healthy recipes and helpful tips for everyone. You will be able to budget, plan, and create countless healthy and tasty meals.

Food Preservation

OSU Extension Master Food Preservers program trains and certifies volunteers in food safety, food preservation, and food security. For questions, call the Food Safety and Preservation hotline or visit their website to find out information about pickling, canning, freezing, drying, and preserving.

Washington County Resources

Preventing food waste at home 

The average U.S. household throws away over 20 percent of all food they purchase. That is like going to the store, leaving one of your five bags in the parking lot and driving away. At the same time, one in six Americans lacks a secure supply of food.

     Learn more

Agritourism in Washington County 

Washington County has a diverse mix of land uses - from agricultural and forestry to commercial and residential. Just around the corner you'll find wineries, parks, trails, campgrounds, international and domestic corporations, main street merchants, nurseries, educational institutions and more! That's part of the reason why Washington County is a desirable area to live, work and play.

concert pumpkin barn wedding tent barrel train farm dinner 

In 2011 the state passed Senate Bill 960 which allows for additional "Agritourism" uses on exclusive farm use and agricultural forestry districts. Jurisdictions in Oregon have the option to adopt all, some or none of the legislation. As a result, Washington County is leading an effort to understand the perspectives from a variety of community interests and will determine whether to recommend preparing an Ordinance for adoption by its Board of Commissioners and to identify potential parameters for regulations. 

The Rural Tourism Study Report is available for review here. Public comments on the report will be accepted through Sept. 30, 2016 click here for more details

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