The Wallowa County Local Community Advisory Council advocates for the health and wellness of our county. We consist of citizens from all walks of life, community partner organizations and Oregon Health Plan consumers. The Oregon Health Authority mandates our organization — every county in Oregon has an LCAC.
At our April meeting we discussed the decision of the Joseph City Council to relocate the Wallowa County Farmer’s Market from its long standing location at Joseph and Main streets, one month prior to the start of the market’s season this year. The LCAC voted unanimously to speak out about how much it values and supports our farmer’s market.
We, along with many others in the community, want to address hunger, obesity, and health disparities. We are currently working to update our Community Health Improvement Plan, using data from the Community Health Assessment undertaken by many community partners. Some relevant highlights include:
- Local citizens want access to foods that support healthy eating patterns – the Farmers Market plays an important role in that.
- We want information on how to prepare meals using local, seasonal vegetables – the Farmers Market does that.
- 26% of the children in our county and 16% of the adults are “food insecure” – meaning they don’t have reliable access to a sufficient amount of affordable nutritious food – the Farmer’s Market helps with that by accepting and doubling SNAP, i.e., or food stamp, dollars.
- Only 20% of adults in our county self-identify as eating the minimum recommended servings of five fruits and vegetables daily, meaning 80% do not – the Farmer’s Market helps with that.
- 22% of adults in Wallowa County are obese, and 10.6% suffer from cardiovascular disease – the Farmer’s Market can help with that.
- Nearly 30% of our residents are senior citizens. The Farmer’s Market accepts Senior Farm Direct Nutrition Program checks. This USDA program provides funding so at-risk senior citizens have access to healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables.
We urge the Joseph City Council to reconsider their decision, and allow the Wallowa County Farmer’s Market to continue to operate and thrive in its existing location, it is too important of a community resource to squander.
Wallowa County Advisory Council