Providing tools and support to community members to create local initiatives that build local capacity and leadership, increase environmental sustainability, and foster greater livability and vitality.

Strengthening Food Systems

Every community is part of a larger food system. Whether you live in a rural farming town or a busy urban metropolis, you are involved in a complex web of food production, processing, distribution, and consumption.

By keeping this system as local as possible, community members can get to know nearby producers and retain control over the quality of food available, whether it’s organic produce, grass-fed beef, or farm-fresh milk. Keeping the food dollars circulating locally also benefits regional growers and leads to a smaller ecological footprint.

crates of produce

Did You Know…

  • On average, food travels between 1,500 and 2,500 miles to reach a consumer.
  • For every $1 spent at a local business, 45 cents stays in the community and is reinvested locally; for every $1 spent at a corporate chain store, only 15 cents stays in the community and is reinvested locally.
  • There are now over 4,300 farmers markets and 1,100 community supported agriculture (CSA) ventures in the United States.
  • Lawns are the largest "crop" in America and present us with a vast opportunity for farming and food cultivation.
  • Vacant lots offer another great growing opportunity. In Chicago alone, there are over 60,000 vacant lots that could be put to growing food.