SCOEDD receives grant to build Klamath Basin Food Network

SCOEDD Press Release

Sat May 15 2021 07:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Program aims to grow Klamath’s agricultural economy through expanded market access for local farmers, ranchers and producers to consumers, restaurateurs and grocers in the Klamath Basin and beyond.

SCOEDD (South Central Oregon Economic Development District) received Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) funds to unify and uplift local farmers, ranchers, specialty producers, and restaurateurs in the Klamath Basin by creating a common local food brand. SCOEDD partnered with Klamath Farmers Online Marketplace (KFOM) to serve as the hub for the network’s activities. The project team is excited to announce “Klamath Grown” as the name of the region’s new food network. The project funds will deliver a common logo and branded materials for the network that can be used in marketing Klamath Basin foods.

The project includes researching models for best practices in food networks across the country, as well as strategies to grow participation in the new network amongst farmers, ranchers and producers. “There’s a huge demand for local foods,” says Katie Swanson, owner of Sweet Union Farm and co-manager of KFOM. “People want to support local producers because they know it’s healthy for their families and good for their communities. Our goal is to both expand where our products are available and to make it easy for consumers, chefs and retailers to access the high quality items the Basin produces.”

The project team has been gathering input from dozens of regional stakeholders to define the unique attributes of Basin foods. This definition will inform the development of a dynamic brand and set of marketing materials, aiming to grow awareness of our local foods’ story and value. “Many people aren’t aware of the diversity of food the Basin is able to produce,” adds Kelsie Randall, co-owner of Box R Beef and co-manager of KFOM. “The vast majority of Klamath farms and ranches are family-owned operations, many passed down through generations of lifelong stewards of this incredible land.”

The project team has hired consultants Lookout Co. and Crosscurrent Collective to partner on developing the network model and brand. Both Lookout and Crosscurrent are industry veterans, having led, respectively, brand marketing and destination development at Travel Oregon (the state tourism office) for a decade. Both consultants work with communities around Oregon, including in the Klamath Basin, and the country to build leading destination brands and sustainable agritourism economies.

Through this project, SCOEDD and Klamath Farmers Online Marketplace aim to support the local agricultural economy by increasing local and regional demand for Klamath Basin food of both larger commodity markets as well as the small-scale farming and value-added producers. As demand increases, the goal is that new farms and other food businesses will spring up, and existing farms and businesses will flourish. With the continued increase in local pride, our community will have a stronger sense of connection to the Klamath Basin and to one another.

About SCOEDD
The South Central Oregon Economic Development District (SCOEDD) is focused on creating a thriving economy, rooted in our local renewable resources, the resourcefulness of our people, and our willingness to work together for the mutual benefit of both Klamath and Lake Counties.
541-884-5593 | www.scoedd.org

About KFOM
Klamath Farmers Online Marketplace (KFOM) is an online farmers market, connecting our community to local foods. Find fresh, in-season produce, meat, eggs, honey and other locally grown, raised and processed foods all year long.
541-886-0003 | www.kfom.org