Local Food Systems

Building resilience in nonprofit food hubs

Jacqueline R. LeBlanc, David Conner, Glenn McRae and Heather Darby
Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development

Incredible Edible

Begun as a community garden movement in the town of Todmorden in northern England, Incredible Edible is now a worldwide umbrella network supporting better access to locally-sourced, sustainable agriculture. Its members are fully independent organizations that operate in different directions, but share a common goal of improving public access to healthy local food. Read more about Incredible Edible...

Healthy Food Access Portal

HealthyFoodAccess.com is an information clearinghouse draws awareness to inequitable access to healthy foods in communities across the country and provides tools to launch and expand healthy food access retail projects in low-income communities. It offers resources on policy efforts, news, and strategy to help improve access for consumers and communities. The Healthy Food Access website is a collaborative effort of PolicyLink, The Food Trust, and The Reinvestment Fund, and was launched with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Rid-All Green Partnership

Founded in 2010, Rid-All Green aims to transform Cleveland communities through urban agriculture.  Its projects are located within the City of Cleveland’s Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone, a 28-acre vacant tract in a disinvested, inner-city neighborhood.  To date, the organization has developed a 1.3-acre farm, which is credited with creating four new jobs, harvesting more than 4,000 tilapia fish and more than 14,000 pounds of produce, and processing up to 40,000 pounds of food waste per week.  As a regional training center for the Milwaukee-based Growing Power, it also has trained over 150 people in urban agriculture techniques.

Gardening for Greenbacks

Aiming to establish Cleveland as a model local food system and ensure all city residents have access to fresh, healthy and affordable food, this city program offers grants of up to $3,000 to members of cooperatives and community supported agriculture programs.  Participants can use the grants to purchase equipment needed to grow or sell produce, such as tools, display tables/booths, irrigation systems, rain barrels, greenhouses, and signage.

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program

UC Davis

UC Davis’ Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP)’s website includes a wealth of materials focused on local food systems including a downloadable bibliography of over 2,000 articles and the results of several food system assessments, which examine the connections between and impact of food production, distribution, consumption and waste disposal.

Local Food and Economic Development

Ceri Jenkins, Adam Schepker and Satya Rhodes-Conway

This paper outlines how cities can use local food systems to support economic development.  It includes case studies of local governments that are effectively catalyzing economic development through local food initiatives and concrete recommendations for governments interested in promoting local food to boost economic development.

Grace Communications Foundation

GRACE Communications Foundation works to increase public awareness of environmental and public health issues created by our current food, water and energy systems, and to promote a more sustainable future.  Its website includes information on a range of food and agriculture topics, including local food systems, as well as practical toolkits and video and multi-media resources to educate people on these topic Read more about Grace Communications Foundation...

Green City Growers

Part of the Evergreen Cooperatives initiative, Green City Growers is a worker-owned cooperative that produces leafy greens in a 3.25- Read more about Green City Growers...

Our Harvest

Our Harvest is a union worker-owned cooperative that farms on multiple properties in Cincinnati, OH and sells its produce through CSA programs and other markets.  The Co-op is committed to creating family-sustaining jobs, producing sustainably grown, produce, building a food hub to strengthen the local food system and increase access to healthy food, and sustaining these efforts by training new farmers.

Evergreen Cooperatives Field Study

In its newest Field Guide to Investing in a Regenerative Economy, the Capital Institute outlines Cleveland’s Evergreen model and provides overviews of the three enterprises: Evergreen Cooperative Laundry, Evergreen Energy Solutions, and Green City Growers. 

Cities at Work: Progressive Local Policies to Rebuild the Middle Class

Joel Rogers and Satya Rhodes-Conway

In a new report from the Center for American Progress, Joel Rogers and Satya Rhodes-Conway of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) outline policies that cities can adopt to become more inclusive and sustainable. The authors espouse democratic organization as a critical component to social equity and wealth creation and highlight the critical linking of anchor procurement strategies and employee ownership, as seen in the Cleveland Model, to strengthen local economies and stabilize communities.

The Farm Incubator Toolkit: Growing the Next Generation of Farmers

Eva Agudelo Winther and Meaghan Overton

This new guide developed by the National Incubator Farm Training Initiative (NIFTI) and published by the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project offers a framework to develop local farm incubators. Bringing together practioners and training expertize, this toolkit provides a variety of resources to support small-scale sustainable farmers, from project planning and management to planning for long-term growth. This toolkit is part of national effort to build a network of incubators that empower disadvantaged new producers to build economic opportunity and grow the vitality of small-scale, localized agriculture across the nation.

Tricycle Gardens

Tricycle Gardens uses its year-round ½ acre urban farm in South Richmond as a living classroom for adults and youth to learn about farming, soil improvement, nutrition, and organic growing. Producing over 20,000 pounds of produce per year, it is able to run its own farm stand in addition to supplying online grocer Relay Foods and local restaurants. It has also launched five community gardens. In 2013, Tricycle Gardens partnered with the Richmond City Health District, Virginia Community Capital, and Bon Secours Richmond to reduce food deserts in Richmond’s East End through the Get Fresh East End! pilot, modeled after the national Healthy Corner Stores Initiative. Tricycle Gardens provides fresh, affordable, and locally grown produce to two corner store owners. As the program grows to include more corner stores, Tricycle Gardens will work with other urban farms and community gardens for additional local food sources. 

Shalom Farms

Begun in the fall of 2008, Shalom Farms is a regional food security, community development project of United Methodist Urban Ministries of Richmond. Using high-density urban farming techniques that are replicable in urban communities, Shalom Farms provides experiential learning opportunities for children and adults to engage in food production and healthy cooking. The farm has also supplied over 30,000 of pounds of food to Central Virginia's hunger-relief leader FeedMore and the Peter Paul Development Center. Together with the Neighborhood Resource Center for Greater Fulton, Shalom Farms operates a weekly farmers’ market, operated by Fulton Hill youth.

Feed RVA

Feed RVA developed from the for-profit Grow RVA, which operates one the largest farmers’ market in Virginia, the South of the James Market. Though originally formed to create an incentive program to provide matching funds for SNAP benefits at farmers’ markets, Feed RVA’s mission has since expanded. Feed RVA is working to expand selling opportunities for the 100+ South of the James Market vendors, three quarters of which make at least two thirds of their total incomes at the Saturday market. It is now putting together a group of stakeholders, including purchasers from Richmond hospitals and universities and Richmond’s Economic Development Authority to form an advisory committee on the formation of a food hub.