December 16, 2021 — The Wallace Center is excited to announce a $750,000 investment from USDA’s Local Food Promotion Program to build and augment exciting work in community-based food systems across the country. The Strengthening Farm to Food Assistance Value Chains project aims to better understand and support local and regional food businesses and organizations working to connect regional farmers and communities experiencing food insecurity.
The funding will support a national research effort, done in partnership with the Duke World Food Policy Center, which aims to understand the landscape of farm to food assistance programs – as well as the innovations, needs, and impacts of this growing market channel. The Wallace Center will also collaborate with partners to provide in-depth technical assistance, development support and coaching to a cohort of leaders working at the intersection of farm viability and food access. We will also work with practitioners across the country to create a national farm to food assistance community of practice and resource library to foster peer learning and connections.
“There’s been a perennial tension between efforts to support small farms and those that increase the affordability of healthy food for people most impacted by social and economic inequities. But since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, partners across the country demonstrated that hunger relief and farm and supply chain support can work in harmony,” said Susan Lightfoot Schempf, Wallace Center Co-Director. “Connecting these approaches is a systems-level solution that can make fresh food more affordable, strengthen community food security, and support small farm viability. Through this project, we’re excited to learn from and support the brilliant food systems leaders addressing these challenges in their communities.”
Key collaborators in this three-year project include Duke Sanford World Food Policy Center, The Common Market, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, the University of Arkansas’ Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative, and community food systems activists.
We plan to engage a broad swath of our network members in this research and peer learning, so if you or someone you know is doing creative work in this area, we want to hear from you! Email Project Manager Ellie Bomstein at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas and stories.