The makers of Nancy’s Yogurt are one of about 55 Oregon natural foods businesses that have banded together to form the Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance.

The alliance was created as a resource for members to network and tackle common challenges, such as distribution, regional sourcing of ingredients and affordable health insurance coverage. The group’s members also hope to get people thinking about buying locally grown and produced foods that are healthful and environmentally sensitive.

Ultimately, the group would like to build a brand for Willamette Valley foods, similar to the Napa Valley’s brand for wine.

“The Willamette Valley already has a cachet,” said Brad Averill, co-owner of Wildtime Foods, a trail mix producer. “There is such a strong natural foods industry and tradition here, and we have something that’s really unique.”