Local CDCs Expand How We Think About Food Distribution and Food Access
On Friday, March 28, 2014 Rise engaged 40 community development corporations (CDCs), entrepreneurs, local farmers, and other stakeholders around the relevant topic of food access within the context of place-based community development. Given that many CDCs and other community organizations are located in food deserts and/or have residents within their service area with limited access to affordable nutritious food, this workshop proved to be a timely training to explore innovative strategies and impactful solutions that increase food access by growing and sustaining the local food system. Additionally, CDCs were connected with local food producers and introduced to a variety of place-based approaches that emphasize growth and community engagement. Participants gained a greater understanding that the local food system encapsulates the distance between the food producers and consumers, as well as the characteristics along the supply chain.
Awareness, availability, accessibility and affordability were key reoccurring themes that relate to the economic impact of individuals and families, as well as communities and our local economy. This workshop discussed the importance of equitable access to good healthy and affordable food options, keeping agriculture dollars in the community, improving public health outcomes, and preserving environmental sustainability.
In many ways, Rise continues to be a regional convener of anchor institutions that shape and impact our neighborhoods. Strategic community development is more than providing housing. It’s about building strong healthy neighborhoods. More broadly, this workshop was a platform for CDCs to guide economic development that creates and sustains jobs, promotes community viability and food security, as well as engage with funders, community advocates, policy makers, government, educators and researchers.
We invite you to learn more about the presenters and their work to promote food access in their neighborhoods and throughout the St. Louis region.
Liz Pund and Rusty Lee
Paula Gaertner and Sal Martinez
Vontrice McDowell and Natalie Clay
For more information on this topic contact Brian Hurd, Rise Technical Assistance Program Manager at (314) 333-7012 or by email at [email protected].