Local Food Systems

The Argyle Area Community Garden

The Argyle Area Community Garden was founded in May 2009 as a member-operated organic vegetable garden to support a healthier and better-educated community. Though the garden is not yet complete, it plans to educate the local youth through field trips and hands-on experience, as well as volunteer programs for high school students.

Growing Urban Agriculture: Equitable Strategies and Policies for Improving Access to Healthy Foods and Revitalizing Communities

Allison Hagey, Solana Rice and Rebecca Flournoy

PolicyLink examines how cities across the United States are adopting urban agriculture as a means to address equity issues in our food system and communities. This report details the benefits of urban agriculture, looks at innovative strategies to overcome common challenges, and offers policy recommendations to ensure equity in the growing movement. It lays out how urban agriculture can improve access to healthier food through innovative distribution, processing, and marketing efforts; improve economic health by creating jobs, attracting new business, and creating savings for families; and improve community health by using vacant or underused urban spaces to create safe, clean outdoor spaces for people to gather.

Southside Community Land Trust

Since 1981, the Southside Community Land Trust has provided land, education, resources, and support for community members to provide healthy food for themselves.  Partnering with the City of Providence, the Rhode Island Foundation, and Brown University Center for Environmental Studies, among many others, the trust has transformed five acres of urban land into productive food growing space, and preserved 50-acres of suburban farmland.  More than 600 families citywide have transformed vacant lots and under used land into more than 30 community gardens.  Through a variety of education programs, the group engages over 1,000 community youth members in hands-on gardening activities each year.

Good Food and Good Jobs For All

Yvonne Yen Liu

Released in July 2012 by the Applied Research Center, this report highlights the struggle for good food and good jobs as a key facet of the movement for racial and economic justice.  More than 110 million people in the U.S. suffer from “dangerously” unhealthy diets – nearly two-thirds of who are African American and Latino. Additionally, 40 million Americans lack food security as a result of poverty, with African American and Latinos representing more than half.  To improve access to productive jobs and healthy food, the author advocates that community-labor alliances must support two main sectors: small and medium sized food manufactures that produce ethnic cuisines without violating labor laws and state and local governments that purchase locally produced food.

Alemany Farm

Located in southeast San Francisco, Alehmany Farm is a three and a half acre organic farm managed by a group of volunteers promoting ecological-economic development and fostering green job skills for the community.  The farm's main mission is to educate local residents on methods to become their own food producers and provide access to organic, healthy locally grown food.  In 2014, the farm produced over 8 tons of organic fruits and vegetables — all distributed for free to farm volunteers, farm neighbors, community residents and local nonprofits. Read more about Alemany Farm...

W. K. Kellogg Foundation: Food & Community Program

Started in 2000, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Food & Community Program has, to date, funded more than 75 food projects - efforts to create community-based food systems that support local, healthy, and sustainably grown food. Working to transform the nation's food system, the Program provides assistance to both rural and urban food networks as it strives to increase accessibility to Good Food - food that is nutritional, sustainable, fair and affordable. Read more about W. K. Kellogg Foundation: Food & Community Program...

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)

Supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA) and operated under cooperative agreements with the University of Maryland and the University of Vermont, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program provides grants and outreach to promote sustainable innovation in American agriculture. Since 1988, SARE has provided grants for more than 2500 projects, including support for urban agricultural farms, such as $6,000 to the Resource Center City Farm in Chicago, IL, $6000 to New Roots Urban Farm in St. Read more about Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)...

Slow Food USA

With more than 200 chapters across the county, Slow Food USA is an organization that focuses on promoting local, equitable and sustainable food production and engaging in outreach, such as through children and school and other public programs, to help connect communities to these food systems. Read more about Slow Food USA...

New Agrarian Center

The New Agrarian Center (NAC) was formed in 2000 with the mission of growing a sustainable local food system in Northeast Ohio. The NAC began its work with the initiation of the George Jones Farm and Nature Preserve in Oberlin, Ohio. Earned income from farm production exceeded $70,000 in 2008. In partnership with Ohio State Extension, the New Agrarian Center has developed the City Fresh initiative. Read more about New Agrarian Center...

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)

Launched in 2009, the USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food program is an effort to improve local and regional food systems and create economic development in low-income communities by supporting small to mid-sized farms. In September 2009, the initiative awarded $4.8 million in grants through the Community Food Project's Competitive Grant Program and an additional $4.5 million through the Farmers Market Promotion Program. Read more about Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)...

The Food Trust

The Food Trust partners with neighborhoods, schools, grocers, farmers and policymakers to improve access to and affordability of healthy food for low-income communities. They fund various school-based and community-based programs, including operating more than 30 farmers markets in the Philadelphia region, helping finance 83 supermarket projects in 34 Pennsylvania counties, and working extensively to create a national-scale version of the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative. Read more about The Food Trust...

Food First: Institute for Food and Development Policy

The Institute for Food and Development Policy (aka Food First) is an Oakland-based think tank that focuses on issues of ending global hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation by utilizing research, analysis and advocacy to help develop democratically controlled, sustainable local food systems. Read more about Food First: Institute for Food and Development Policy...

Fair Food Network

Based in Michigan, the Fair Food Network works to improve justice and sustainability in how food is regulated, grown, accessed, understood and funded. For example, in Detroit, they've implemented the Double Up Food Bucks project, which matches every $2 spent on fresh food by Food Stamp recipients at farmer's markets with $2 of Food Buck tokens, thus incentivizing healthier food choices while supporting local farmers. FFN also provides grants and technical assistance to food enterprises, entrepreneurs and communities as part of Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development. Read more about Fair Food Network...

Community Food Security Coalition

The Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) is a North American nonprofit that strives to provide communities with better access to affordable and healthy food by improving local and regional food systems. Consisting of over 300 member organizations, their mission is to help strengthen a community's ability to maintain an entire food system from growing to selling that incorporates the principles of justice, democracy, and sustainability. Read more about Community Food Security Coalition...

American Community Gardening Association

Focused on strengthening communities through community gardening, the American Community Gardening Association works to expand state and regional community gardening networks, develop resources and research in support of community gardening, and conduct educational programs. The Association provides numerous resources, including publications, information about funding opportunities, and useful links. Read more about American Community Gardening Association...

Gateway Greening

Founded in 1983, Gateway Greening empowers people to strengthen their communities through gardening and urban agriculture.  One of its core projects is its 2.5 acre urban farm, which grows about 15,000 pounds of organic produce a year that is then distributed through its CSA program and a local food pantry.  The farm serves as a job training ground for people overcoming homelessness, mental illness, chronic addiction, and/or recidivism.  Since the farm’s establishment in 2006, it has supported 683 trainees and produced over 120,000 pounds of food.  Gateway Greening also provides guidance and other resources to over 200 community gardens and 70 school-based gardens.