Local Food Systems

Growing Places Indy

Founded in 2009, Growing Places Indy is a nonprofit organization focused on empowering individuals and communities to “Grow well, Eat well, Live well and Be well.”  To do so, it cultivates “networks of connection” by engaging individuals in urban agriculture, relationships with local farmers and local food, experiential learning, and practices for living well such as yoga, meditation, and urban bicycling.  Its programs are run out of its 7 urban micro-farms located throughout the city, where Growing Places grows 60 varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs each year.  Growing Places donates a portion of its harvests to other community-based organizations.

Green B.E.A.N. Indiana

Based in Indianapolis, Green B.E.A.N. is a food company committed to making healthy and sustainably grown local food affordable, accessible, and convenient to Midwest communities.  Its name, Green B.E.A.N., was chosen to reflect its core initiatives:  Biodynamic, Education, Agriculture, and Nutrition.  Green B.E.A.N. encompasses Green B.E.A.N. Delivery, an online service through which members can order fresh produce and groceries from local farmers and artisans, and Tiny Footprint Distribution, a low carbon footprint company that distributes locally made food products to retail stores.  Committed to low-income areas, Green B.E.A.N. has partnered with Indiana University Health to deliver fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables year-round to neighborhoods of need throughout Marion County, Indiana.  The company also runs a “constant can food drive,” which takes any food members leave in their delivery bins to local food banks, and has itself donated over 100,000 pounds of fresh food to food banks over the past three years.

Economic Analysis Of Detroit’s Food System

Econsult Solutions, Inc. and Urbane Development, LLC

The food economy in Detroit is already the city’s third largest economic sector, and is poised to be the next largest growth sector for the city, note Econsult Solutions, Inc. and Urbane Development in a report written on behalf of The Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative. In their report, the authors outline several strategies to foster equitable growth, including connecting local, small-scale food producers and manufactures to anchor institution demand. Only by engaging Detroiters and supporting the local, small, and medium sized actors in the system, the report argues, will food sector growth be effective in creating jobs and building community wealth for Detroit residents. 

Milwaukee Food Council

Established in 2007, the Milwaukee Food Council is a coalition of community members, professionals, and government officials committed to building a food system that is healthy, ecologically sustainable, economically vibrant, culturally relevant and socially just. The Council’s work centers around its four core committees—Urban Agriculture, Economic Development, Healthy Food Access, and Metrics—that meet on a regular basis to develop intentional, positive strategies for developing such a system. Read more about Milwaukee Food Council...

Walnut Way Conservation Corp

Founded in 2000 by residents of Milwaukee’s Walnut Way neighborhood, the Walnut Way Conservation Corp is a nonprofit organization working to sustain an economically diverse community through civic engagement, environmental stewardship, and economic enterprise. Recognizing the importance of place, the nonprofit’s office is located in a former drug house slated for demolition that residents restored. Read more about Walnut Way Conservation Corp...

Weaving the Community Resilience and New Economy Movement

Marissa Mommaerts , Ken White and Ben Roberts
Post Carbon Institute

The Post Carbon Institute and Collective Conversations interviewed 18 leaders, including Democracy Collaborative Communications Coordinator John Duda, for a new report on the possibilities for a new, more equitable and democratized economy. Building off of conversations from the Community Resilience and New Economy Network, the collected interviews help to connect different social movements and present creative solutions and alternatives to our current extractive economy. Full transcripts of each interview are also available online.

Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC)

Created in January 2011 by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to build a “Good Food system” for all of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Food Policy Council aims to reduce hunger, improve public health, increase equity, create good jobs, stimulate local economic activity, and foster environmental stewardship.  Its work focuses on bringing together leaders and experts from across sectors, geographies, and socio-economic communities to strengthen connections throughout the food system, and to facilitate and coordinate systemic change.  One of LAFPC’s key achievements was the development of a Good Food Purchasing Program, the most comprehensive metric-based food purchasing policy of its kind in the nation, which rates organizations’ commitment to sustainable food along five key dimensions and provides technical assistance in sourcing, monitoring progress, and measuring and recognizing success.

Green City Market

Established in 1998, Green City Market is a nonprofit marketplace for local, sustainable food that educates, promotes, and connects local farmers and producers directly to chefs, restaurateurs, and the public.  Committed to educating people about the importance of sustainability, the Market also provides free educational resources and runs a range of programs focused on local issues related to sustainability.  One key initiative is its “Edibles Gardens,” which is a public space featuring 5,000 square feet of organically grown vegetables, fruits, herbs, grains, and flowers designed to show people where their food comes from.

Building the Case for Racial Equity in the Food System

Anthony Giancatarino and Simran Noor
The Center for Social Inclusion

This report from The Center for Social Inclusion examines the effects of housing, school, land, and wage policies on access to healthy food in communities of color. It offers recommendations to surmount these challenges, such as investing in cooperatively owned food enterprises and leveraging dollars from the Affordable Care Act’s community benefit requirements for nonprofit hospitals. The report also includes several reference guides to help community groups identify and confront the particular institutions, policies, and practices that promote structural racial inequity in their food systems. 

Greening Healthcare: How Hospitals Can Heal the Planet

Kathy Gerwig
Oxford University Press

Authored by Kaiser Permanente’s Environmental Stewardship Officer Kathy Gerwig, this new book provides a roadmap for healthcare institutions aiming to help build healthy and sustainable communities. Gerwig’s case studies of current hospital best practices identify environmentally preferable purchasing policies, investments in local food systems, and other green strategies that provide powerful examples of how healthcare institutions can meet existing community benefit requirements and reduce health disparities, thereby improving health outcomes while building wealth in low- to moderate- income communities. 

Community Wealth Building Conference

September 27th, 2014
Aurora, Colorado

Breakout session topics fall under the following themes:   Read more about Community Wealth Building Conference...

Findlay Market

Operating out of the same historic building since 1855, Findlay Market is a public market that serves as the primary source of fresh, local food in Cincinnati’s urban core.  With shoppers spending roughly $30 million at the market in 2011, it helps ensure dollars remain and recirculate within the community. Demonstrating its commitment to sustainability, the Market has intensive recycling, composting, energy consumption reduction, and planting initiatives. Read more about Findlay Market...

Slow Living Summit 2015

June 3rd, 2015 to June 5th, 2015
Brattleboro, VT