Josephine County Food Bank

2016 Oregon Brownfields Outstanding Project

Partners
City of Grants Pass
Kennedy/Jenks Consultants
Western States Environmental Services
Friends of Josephine County Food Bank
United Community Action Network
Rotary Clubs of Josephine County, Oregon Food Bank
The Collins Foundation
Oregon Community Foundation
Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation
Pacific Power Foundation
Kistler, Small, and White Architecture
Adroit Construction Company
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Business Oregon

The Josephine County Food Bank at Raptor Creek Farm is the result of an extensive collaboration between the city of Grants Pass, the Josephine County Food Bank, and community investment. In 2006, the city purchased the former Sunnybrook Hop Farm, a 250-acre facility located about 1.5 miles from the city limits. The purchase was not without controversy: real estate development was booming in the community and some believed that the city purchased the site to speculate on real estate. Others questioned the city's decision to purchase property with known soil and groundwater contamination. Despite the controversy, the city and involved community members forged ahead with a vision for the site, now known as River Road Reserve.

An early partner in the discussions was the Josephine County Food Bank. In July 2011, the Food Bank entered into a long-term (up to 50 years) lease for 9.75 acres of the 250-acre site, on which it planned to start a farm and construct a new administrative and distribution facility, repack area, and farm kitchen. Assistance from the US EPA through Business Oregon's Cleanup Fund funded the city's investment in remediating the known soil and groundwater contamination in fall 2011, and the Food Bank expanded its leasehold to encompass the entire 19-acre area once occupied by the Sunnybrook Hop Yards processing and shipping operations area. With extensive contributions from the community, the Food Bank asked the city to submit an application for Oregon Community Development Block Grant funds to construct their new facility. The city was awarded $1,500,000, which was augmented with more than $400,000 in local donations. The new 13,000-square-foot facility was dedicated in March 2015.

The Food Bank grows approximately 50,000 pounds of fresh produce each year in its 2.4-acre garden, which is distributed to approximately 12,000 community members each month. The food basket provided by the Food Bank has been recognized as the third healthiest in the state. Additionally, the Food Bank partners with community groups to provide youth summer education programs—both the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club have sent children to the farm to learn about the health benefits of fresh food. Josephine County Food Bank partners with local community groups on projects such as the CareSource Community Garden, which provides complementary raised garden space, tools, and irrigation for low- to moderate-income and disabled senior citizens to grown their own fresh fruits, vegetables, and even flowers.

Josephine County Food Bank in Grants Pass