The food system includes all forces that impact the way we eat. It involves all steps required to grow, harvest, process, transport, procure, sell, prepare, and consume foods as well as manage food waste. This system is commonly described as isolated, resistant to change, unfair, and limited in choice.
We hope for a food system that helps people meet basic food needs with dignity; balances supply and demand of fresh, affordable, and nutritious foods in neighborhoods; and promotes community empowerment and ownership of local food systems. A community-driven food system should be:
- Equitable and fair.
- Connected and complex.
- Open, engaging, and evolving.
- Vibrant and abundant.
- Devoid of structural racism.
- Nutritious and enriching.
Community driven food justice is achieved when:
- Communities have ownership over and/or leadership of food systems change.
- Households have financial strength.
- People have fair access to affordable, fresh, and healthy foods.
- Communities are healthy in body, mind, and spirit.
- People have freedom, agency, and dignity over their food traditions.
Nutrition equity is defined as freedom, agency, and dignity in food traditions resulting in people and communities healthy in mind, body, and spirit.
We recognize that the food system as it is does not work for all. It unfairly burdens people of color and those with low-income. It yields low wages and unfair conditions for food workers. It also results in vicious cycles of food insecurity, limited access to and ownership of full-service grocers, nutrition inequity, and chronic disease among racial and ethnic minorities and people with low-income.
These injustices are maintained by structures of racism and historical disinvestment in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. We are committed to centering the lived experiences of those most affected by food system injustices in the Nourishing Power Network to combat these injustices.
Shifting the food system to fairness will require community-driven, coordinated, collaborative, and responsive actions at five potential leverage points.
These leverage points are Fair Access to Affordable Fresh and Healthy Foods, Nourished Neighborhoods, Neighborhood Thriving, Economic and Community Development, and Social Connectivity and Policy Engagement.
Sample actions for each of these leverage points are:
- Adopt wasted food reduction policies and practices within organizations, businesses, or the home with the goal of enacting city or county policy to ban food waste over the long-term and creating pathways for this food to be used for good.
- Increase funding for programs to subsidize costs of fresh and healthy foods for people at risk for chronic disease (i.e., produce prescriptions, Produce Perks).
- Expand access to high speed internet.
- Remove barriers for people who were formally incarcerated to qualify for living wage jobs to experience upward mobility.
- Get neighbors out to vote and ensure voters are aware of issues that directly and indirectly impact fair access to fresh and healthy foods through voter registration, voter education, and reducing barriers on voting day.
Learn more in the Menu of Actions for Community Driven Food Systems Change.
We aim to build bridges between the power that communities bring to the table – such as local know-how, wisdom, and political will -- with the power that organizations bring to the table – such as funding, marketing, and existing programs. We hope to bridge these distinct skillsets to root and grow a food system that works for all.
There are different opportunities in the Nourishing Power Network based on your experiences, interests, and capacity. The Nourishing Power Advisory Council is for more experienced food systems leaders within the target cities and its members guide the Fellowship, Fund, and Policy Action priorities. The Nutrition Equity Fund opportunities are for people or organizations that seek funding related to the areas of focus of each funding opportunity. The Nourishing Power Fellowship is for individuals and teams with new ideas related to the food system who are looking to develop them further. Because we want to engage as many people as possible, members of the Advisory Council are not eligible to participate in the Fellowship and receive funding from the Nutrition Equity Fund during their term on the Advisory Council. Anyone and everyone is encouraged to participate in the networking events over the course of the project, which are open to the public.
No, unfortunately, you cannot participate in more than one component (Fellowship, Advisory Council, or Fund) at a time. For example, current Advisory Council members cannot apply to the Fund, and Fellows cannot apply to the Fund during the Fellowship period.
This does not include the Networking events. Networking is open to all.
Please check back in February 2024 for more information about Nourishing Power Networking events for 2024 and beyond.
The Advisory Council 2.0 will be working on the sustainability plan for the Nourishing Power Network throughout their term from February 2024 to March 2025. Please check back for more details on the future of Nourishing Power Network throughout 2024.