About Our Network
Our Mission: To support students in creating community-based food distribution programs by providing resources and mentorship.
Our Vision: A new food system, where Community Food Security (CFS) is a reality nationwide. CFS is traditionally defined as:
We are a network of groups across North America developing models for community-based food distribution, and we've joined together to support new projects in new places. Click here to learn more about our Mentors, and click here to learn about our free consultation services.
We believe in communities' ability to provide food for themselves—and that students have a part to play in that.
Why We Need A New Food System
The one we have isn't working. Almost 30 million people live in low-income areas with limited supermarket access. In a country with incredible abundance, the troubling relationships among poverty, hunger and obesity have created a national health crisis.
Our safety net is getting weaker. Industry is getting a clue when it comes to managing waste—but that's leaving food banks struggling to fill growing demand. Our latest Farm Bill cut SNAP significantly—and the situation looks bleak for 2018. About 1 in 4 eligible SNAP participants aren't enrolled, and many communities are missing out on support available for Summer Meals and After-School Meal Programs.
Even when food waste goes away, hunger won't. We need resources that don't just feed those with the most need, but help people to stretch their food dollars further and make healthy food shopping possible for everyone. Communities can manage their own food system and create welcoming, stigma-free markets that support local economies and advance social justice.
Our Mentors are creating models that go beyond the charitable approach to food access. Click here to learn what they do.
We focus our support on college students and institutions of higher education. Reasons for this focus:
Education is changing.
- Students are looking for ways to go beyond their campus for their education.
- Academia is emphasizing more applied and experiential learning, social entrepreneurship, and food systems programs. We need outlets and proven models to make the most of this new energy.
- Students in many schools want to make a real difference in the world, and there’s no better place to start than in their own communities.
We need creative new leaders.
- College students are the pool from which most new food systems leaders will come
- To get hired, students need more than a degree. They need experience and leadership skills.
- Leadership skills emerge, with some mentoring, as students turn their hands and minds to real needs.
Institutions of higher education are a great community resource.
- Institutions are powerful, and that power is potential. In many places, the college or university is the biggest employer in town. When a college or university backs a project, it is throwing substantial weight behind it.
- Students make really good connectors across community assets.