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.

Build a Growing Community

Before you can strengthen your food system, you'll need to first take a careful look at what's already there. What does food production and distribution look like in your region? Who’s growing what, where, and when? Where and when are farmers markets held, and do local retailers support and sell local food, such as through a community coop or locally owned store? Do you have Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms and growers near you? Find out by looking on Local Harvest, a national CSA locator.

Although we don’t often think about communities as being “food deserts,” sadly there are many across the country. This happens when a community has difficulty accessing not only affordable, local, and healthy food, but even grocery stores and food products in general. Check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Atlas to learn more. If you are located in a food desert, watch the TEDx video below to learn ways to help your community transform your food desert into a food oasis.

Build Social Ties

An important next step in strengthening your local food system is building social ties, or getting people together to talk about the issues that matter. This could mean gathering at a local farm or community garden to make connections through “good dirt” dialogue. Lunch & Learns and brownbag lunch series are popular tools for educating community members on issues related to sustainability. Is there a local farm near you that would be willing to host these types of activities throughout the growing season?


Everyone eats, and many people enjoy cooking, so why not marry these interests and initiate a Seasonal Cooking class? Check out Harvest Eating or the Adventures in Local Food blog for recipe ideas.

Also. don't forget to seek out other New Dreamers in your community who are interested in FOOD! Soon, you'll be able to search our database to look up other individuals in your zip code who are interested in building more sustainable communities.