Using Grassroots Organizing to Protect and Support Idaho

From by Clare Algozin
Using Grassroots Organizing to Protect and Support Idaho

The Idaho Organization of Resource Councils (IORC) is a nonprofit grassroots organization working to protect Idaho’s unique way of life. IORC works to improve the economic well-being of their communities by preserving family farms and ranches, supporting local, sustainable agriculture, developing small businesses and clean energy, and being responsible stewards of Idaho’s water, land, air, and natural resources.

Food Tank had the opportunity to speak with Breland Draper, Lead Organizer at the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils.

Food Tank (FT): How do you contribute to creating a better food system?

Breland Draper (BD): IORC implements a community organizing model that organizes groups of people and develops new agriculture leaders. IORC members identify systemic issues that create challenges for family farms and ranches and organize on a policy level to address the challenges and create a better food system.

FT: What is a project, program, or result you are most proud of?

BD: IORC members are currently working at the policy level to create consistent cottage foods rules across the state. Idaho has seven independent health districts, which are all governed by their own boards of health. Because of this independence, the health districts have enforced inconsistent policies on home-based processors. IORC has worked to introduce a bill in the 2015 legislature to create statewide, consistent policies.

FT: What are your goals for 2015 and beyond?

BD: IORC is expanding statewide. The organization is chapter-based, and currently IORC has two local chapters in opposite sides of the state. The local chapters are both working on issues at the local level, and collaborating on statewide issues. IORC will expand into new communities over the next five years to grow the organization’s power across the state. The organization is focused on gaining local, state, and national policies that support family farms and local, sustainable agriculture.

FT: In one sentence, what is the most important thing eaters and consumers can do today to support a more sustainable food system?

BD: Don’t just vote with your fork, vote with your vote as well.

FT: How can individuals become more involved in your organization?

BD: IORC is member-led and operated. Those interested in joining can visit our website or send an email to For those in Idaho, ask if there is a local chapter in your area.

Download the 2014 Good Food Org Guide HERE.

Submit your suggestions for the 2015 guide HERE.

Continue reading at Food Tank