Local Food Systems

San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project

San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project aims to encourage the growth and consumption of regional food.  The nonprofit has a 6-acre farm, Wild Willow Farm, where it runs its School for Sustainable Farming and hosts a range of workshops and events focused on training the next generation of sustainable farmers.  Through its urban agriculture program, Victory Gardens, it also helps community members grow their own food through collaborative gardens, educational programs, and community outreach.  Since Victory Garden’s inception in 2009, the program has helped establish roughly 100 new gardens.

San Diego Food System Alliance

Launched in 2012, the San Diego Food System Alliance is a locally-focused, democratic body working to develop and maintain an equitable, healthy, and sustainable food system for San Diego County residents.  To do so, the group advances local and state-level policy initiatives, convenes and supports working groups through which practitioners can collaborate on regional issues, organizes community events, and leads projects and research to bolster access to healthy, local food.

Project New Village

Established in 1994 to foster collaborative community efforts to increase social wellness in Southeastern San Diego, Project New Village now focuses on strengthening Southeastern neighborhoods through the development of beautiful, beneficial, and bountiful local food.  Catalyzed in 2008, its People’s Produce Project is a grassroots, community-based initiative that addresses food insecurity, reconnects people to their neighborhoods, and fosters environmental stewardship.  The Project includes a Farmers Market that is the only one in the area that accepts food stamps and offers free health screenings, and Mt. Hope Community Garden, which includes a space the nonprofit uses to grow food that it shares or sells and 40 beds on which community members can grow their own food.  Project New Village is now engaging residents around plans for Good Food District, which aims to rely on urban agriculture, neighborhood-based agricultural cooperatives, arts and culture, and wealth building to promote community revitalization and place making, and help transform the political and economic environment.

Sankofa Community Farm at Bartram’s Garden

Located within Bartram’s Garden, a 45-acre National Historic Landmark operated by the John Bartram Association and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Sankofa Community Farm is a 4-acre farm guided by the West African idea of Sankofa—a concept that embraces new learning while remembering the past and one’s roots.  Cultivated by 20 paid local high school interns and about 1,500 volunteers, the garden produces over 15,000 pounds of food a year, which it sells affordably at neighborhood farm stands and through partnerships with area groceries, and 80,000 seedlings, which are transplanted to over 130 farms and gardens in the Philadelphia area.

Philly Urban Creators

Founded in 2010 by area youth, Philly Urban Creators transforms neglected landscapes in North Philadelphia into dynamic safe spaces that foster connectivity, self-sufficiency, and innovation.  To do so, the nonprofit relies on urban agriculture, interest-based learning, artistic expression, restorative justice, and celebration to foster neighborhood stabilization and youth development.  The group’s base is Life Do Grow, a two-acre former garbage dump Urban Creators converted into an urban farm, art gallery, and creative hub.  The farm grows organic produce, which it provides to local families and sells to the community at its farmers market.  The nonprofit also runs a youth leadership program that empowers young people by engaging them in full-time work and training at the farm, and provides workshops and consulting to help others grow healthy food and life styles.

Mill Creek Urban Farm

Mill Creek Urban Farm is a people of color-led educational farm and environmental education center in West Philadelphia that focuses on cultivating a healthy environment, growing strong communities, and promoting a just and sustainable food system.  On a yearly basis, the nonprofit harvests over 5,000 pounds of chemical free-produce, about a fifth of which is donated to local food pantries, and engages over 1,000 people in farm-based education programs. To help youth in the Mill Creek neighborhood gain leadership and job skills, the farm also offers paid high school internships.

Promoting Empowerment and Enrichment Resources (P.E.E.R., Inc.)

Established in 2005, Promoting Empowerment and Enrichment Resources (P.E.E.R., Inc.) works to ensure that residents of Birmingham’s South East Lake community have access to the resources they need for healthy living, learning, and work.  The nonprofit runs a seasonal farmer’s market that includes cooking demonstrations and health screening events and has a mobile market to ensure all residents can access healthy, fresh produce.  Through P.E.E.R.’s commercial kitchen space, community residents can participate in a culinary training program, and products made by the “chef-apprentices” are sold to generate revenues to help support P.E.E.R.’s work.

Magic City Agriculture Project

Founded in 2011 to foster racial, economic, and environmental justice, the Magic City Agriculture Project (MCAP) helps communities of color and cash poor communities organize community-based democratic institutions and cooperative businesses, with a focus on sustainable agribusinesses.  MCAP is credited with helping people living in the Historic Smithfield Community form Dynamite Hill–Smithfield Community Land Trust (DH-SCLT), which became the first land trust in Birmingham in June of 2016.  The nonprofit also supports a small farm in the Historic Smithfield Community, which is considered a food desert.  To help develop the next generation of community leaders and organizers, MCAP’s Birmingham Institute runs numerous educational programs on a range of social justice issues.

Jones Valley Teaching Farm

Aiming to ensure area youth can learn, create, and grow a healthy future for themselves and their community, Jones Valley Teaching Farm builds student-centered teaching farms on local school campuses.  To date, the nonprofit has created 7 such farms through which it has engaged nearly 4,650 students who, collectively, have grown roughly 380 varieties of fruits and vegetables.  To foster youth entrepreneurship and promote access to fresh products, Jones Valley Teaching Farm also helps participants develop student farmer’s markets through which they sell harvested produce and flowers.

Sweet Potato Project

The Sweet Potato Project aims to restore economic activity in North St. Louis by providing paid training opportunities for area youth while creating new ways to grow and distribute local produce.  Each summer, youth learn agricultural and entrepreneurial skills while growing sweet potatoes, which in the fall and winter months they use to bake, market, and sell sweet potato cookies.  A long-term Sweet Potato Project goal is to encourage other city stakeholders to lease or purchase vacant properties on which they can grow produce, with the option of selling their yield to the Project so that it can create more food-based products.

Urban Harvest STL

Urban Harvest STL aims to grow organic food for people living in St. Louis food deserts.  The nonprofit grows food at several urban gardens and rooftop farms, and has partnered with St. Louis MetroMarket, a “farmers market on wheels,” to ensure those in food deserts can access healthy food on a weekly basis.  Also focused on education, Urban Harvest trains interns and volunteers, and holds community events to teach people how to grow food and lead healthier lives.  In 2016, Urban Harvest grew over 3,500 pounds of organic produce valued at nearly $21,000.

City Greens Market

Launched by a group of women frustrated by the lack of accessible grocery stores selling organic, local food in Southeast St. Louis, City Greens Market is a nonprofit small grocery aiming to support local agriculture and ensure all community members can buy affordable, good food.  The Market sells all items at cost to its members, who pay an annual membership fee based on their household income or join for free in exchange for volunteering at least an hour per week.  The nonprofit also offers classes and demonstrations focused on cooking nutritious, affordable meals.