From Blue Apron to Hello Fresh, there’s a number of subscription services out there that will send you everything you need to cook meal at home. A pilot program was launched in Central Oregon over the summer to do something similar for Sisters seniors — locally grown produce delivered right to their door for free.
It’s the third growing season for Lauren Rasmussen and Aaron Stubbs at Fibonacci Farm in Northeast Bend, and the plants have been popping.
“It’s usually towards the middle of the bed that the bed kind of hits its stride and you can see its real harvest potential,” Stubbs said.
The couple traded New York City for Central Oregon with the focus to farm.
“We definitely wanted to make sure that we were feeding everyone, everyone. All of our food was going into everyone’s hands,” Rasmussen said.
Their organically grown produce found an unlikely route to market — a partnership curated by the Council on Aging of Central Oregon and funded through the High Desert Food Farm Alliance (HDFFA).
“We realized that our missions were aligned and that we wanted to bring fresh and nutritious food to older adults throughout our community,” said Cassie Regimbal, executive director of the Council on Aging.
“Every time we can try to connect people in need with fresh produce that will help them in the long run, that’s our goal,” said Sharon Maier-Kennelly, the executive director of the HDFFA.
Each week, bags are stuffed with the recipe and all the ingredients from various local farms to make a meal.
The ten week pilot program was spun out of a conversation between employees of the two organizations.
“They met at a party and then got to talking and realized again how aligned the missions were and that’s just how it came to be,” Regimbal said.
Local organic food isn’t always cheap and not everyone can get out to a farmer’s market.
“And so it just seemed that it’d be a perfect fit, given that we had the mechanism already in place with the Meals on Wheels delivery and they have the harvest kits, so why not put it all together?” Regimbal said.
Meals on Wheels volunteers Ricky Goede and Sue Walker pack the produce to seniors in Sisters.
“They all had the option to get it or not and almost every everybody’s getting them. And to a person, they love it,” Goede said.
And it’s all free for those who qualify for the Meals on Wheels program.
The recipe feeds four people. But the program enriches more than meals.
“I couldn’t believe it was happening. I mean, it just is wonderful,” said Meals on Wheels recipient Lorena Bliven.
“Our hopes would be to expand that funding and continue to grow the program,” Regimbal said.
“We all need to think of everyone. We think of nutrition for our children and ourselves, but sometimes senior citizens get forgotten about. And it’s really important that we take care of them because we all will be senior citizens one day,” Rasmussen said.