Seeing race, ethnicity, and gender in community food system indicators

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The current set of Community Food System (CFS) indicators developed by the Oregon Community Food System Network (OCFSN) obscures the differential access to power and resources experienced by people with varying identities. Bringing a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) lens to these indicators can make explicit disparities that may exist among different groups.

OCFSN is a collaboration of 56 nonprofit organizations and allies dedicated to strengthening local and regional food systems to deliver better economic, social, health and environmental outcomes across the state. OCFSN is committed to putting its equity statement and DEI commitments into practice. Examining the CFS Indicators is part of this process. The CFS Indicators are a partnership between OCFSN, the OSU Center for Small Farms & Community Food Systems, and OSU Extension’s Rural Communities Explorer (RCE).

RCE conducted this audit in Spring 2020. We found that OCFSN has opportunities both to intersect DEI with existing indicators based on the availability of publicly available datasets, and also to add other indicators that might address important DEI concerns in the food system that the current set does not currently address.

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