A community food system is a complex system in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption are integrated to enhance the environmental, economic, social and nutritional health of a particular place.
Locally grown food is fresher, making it more nutritious. It builds the local economy as money circulates to farmers and businesses in the area. It also helps build relationships among people, making communities stronger and healthier places to live. Sustainable community food systems are integral to healthy food access.
Community food system work goes beyond short-term food assistance to individual households. It leverages the local knowledge, expertise and organizational capacity of food system partners to address problems that limit people’s ability to access healthy foods, such as availability and affordability. It also prioritizes the needs, input and participation of people with lived experience of food insecurity.
The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, The Educational Foundation of America and Sugarbush Valley Impact Investments share the Central Appalachian Network’s (CAN) goal of improving access to healthy food for underserved communities and will sponsor the CAN and USDA Community Food Systems Summit: A Fair Food System: A Summit on Scalable Solutions to Creating Community Food Systems.
A Fair Food System will be series of 6 half-day, virtual summits on community food systems from 9am – 1pm, July to December. Summits will include educational presentations, panel discussions, opportunities for partnership building & collaboration, networking events, and state-focused breakout sessions to address community food system issues within Central Appalachia. Topics for Summit #1 on July 28th include Healthy Food Value Chains, from accessibility to equity; the upcoming White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health in September, and new USDA opportunities.
As a partnering organization within CAN, and a long time worker in healthy food access, ACEnet is excited to be taking part in this summit. Program Director, Leslie Schaller, will be discussing regional strategies for building community food systems and how these strategies not only increase food access but positively impact the local economy and increase the overall health of communities. We invite all of our healthy food access partners to join this free, virtual summit.
Summit #1 speakers will include representatives from:
- Appalachian Accessible Food Network
- Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet)
- Appalachian Sustainable Development
- Central Appalachian Network
- Community Farm Alliance
- Community Food Initiatives
- Rural Action
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
For more info & to register for this great, free event: https://www.cannetwork.org/community-food-systems/
Community Update by ACEnet Programs & Communications Coordinator, Meggan Loveland