Local Food Systems

Ithaca Youth Farm Project

Established in 2009 to create opportunities for youth to learn leadership, collaboration, and communication skills, The Youth Farm Project now grows 3-4 acres of crops on a yearly basis.  The food is sold at low-cost to community members and used to provide free, fresh snacks to 1,600 Ithaca Elementary School students.  In addition to creating about 25 jobs for area youth, the Project also engages youth through cooking classes, school field trips to the farm, and other educational opportunities.

The Youth Farm Project

Established in 2009 to create opportunities for youth to learn leadership, collaboration, and communication skills, The Youth Farm Project now grows 3-4 acres of crops on a yearly basis.  The food is sold at low-cost to community members and used to provide free, fresh snacks to 1,600 Ithaca Elementary School students.  In addition to creating about 25 jobs for area youth, the Project also engages youth through cooking classes, school field trips to the farm, and other educational opportunities.

Healthy Food for All

Founded in 2006, Healthy Food for All helps food-insecure families access affordable, healthy organic produce by subsidizing CSA shares.  To encourage and facilitate interest in a variety of fresh produce, the nonprofit also offers its CSA participants weekly free cooking classes and workshops, and hosts events through which members can meet participating farmers.  Healthy Food for All supports about 200 families each year.

Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming

Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming aims to foster a more sustainable, just food system by supporting new farmers, ensuring affordable access to land, and providing hands-on education in farming, sustainable land-use practices, and food justice.  To ensure all community members can participate in its educational programming, Groundswell Center relies on a sliding scale fee structure and offers participants language interpretation and transportation services when needed.  As start-up costs often pose a significant obstacle to new farmers, in 2012 the nonprofit launched an Incubator Farm program that provides new growers with affordable land, resources, one-on-one guidance, and training to develop production techniques and business skills for up to four years.

Crooked Carrot Farm

Launched in 2011 with a goal of nurturing a more self-reliant, democratic, and community-focused food system, Crooked Carrot Farm is local food processing business that makes fresh, fermented, and shelf-stable products from fresh ingredients sourced from farms within 50 miles of Ithaca.  To support local farms, Crooked Carrot co-packs products for farmers with extra produce and offers consulting and educational services to help grow the local food movement.  Through its partnership with Youth Farm Project’s Fresh Snack Program, Crooked Carrot also works with over 20 local farms to coordinate the sourcing and preparation of two fresh produce snacks a week for over 1,200 students—an effort credited with creating a market for 3,000 pounds of new produce sales a year for local farmers.  In 2017, Crooked Carrot itself processed over 30,000 pounds of local produce.

Urbanlife Ministries Farms, Tables, and Cafe

Catalyzed by the faith-based nonprofit Urban Ministries, Urbanlife Farms provides jobs and training opportunities to area youth while producing healthy, local food and beautifying neighborhoods. The program operates two farm sites that were cultivated on previously vacant lots.  Through its Tables initiative, Urbanlife Ministries also offers paid apprenticeships designed to help youth learn skills needed for careers within the food and hospitality industry.  Part of the training is conducted at Urbanlife Café, the Ministries’ social enterprise that is located at a YMCA and serves Urbanlife Farm’s food.

San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project

San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project aims to encourage the growth and consumption of regional food.  The nonprofit has a 6-acre farm, Wild Willow Farm, where it runs its School for Sustainable Farming and hosts a range of workshops and events focused on training the next generation of sustainable farmers.  Through its urban agriculture program, Victory Gardens, it also helps community members grow their own food through collaborative gardens, educational programs, and community outreach.  Since Victory Garden’s inception in 2009, the program has helped establish roughly 100 new gardens.

San Diego Food System Alliance

Launched in 2012, the San Diego Food System Alliance is a locally-focused, democratic body working to develop and maintain an equitable, healthy, and sustainable food system for San Diego County residents.  To do so, the group advances local and state-level policy initiatives, convenes and supports working groups through which practitioners can collaborate on regional issues, organizes community events, and leads projects and research to bolster access to healthy, local food.

Project New Village

Established in 1994 to foster collaborative community efforts to increase social wellness in Southeastern San Diego, Project New Village now focuses on strengthening Southeastern neighborhoods through the development of beautiful, beneficial, and bountiful local food.  Catalyzed in 2008, its People’s Produce Project is a grassroots, community-based initiative that addresses food insecurity, reconnects people to their neighborhoods, and fosters environmental stewardship.  The Project includes a Farmers Market that is the only one in the area that accepts food stamps and offers free health screenings, and Mt. Hope Community Garden, which includes a space the nonprofit uses to grow food that it shares or sells and 40 beds on which community members can grow their own food.  Project New Village is now engaging residents around plans for Good Food District, which aims to rely on urban agriculture, neighborhood-based agricultural cooperatives, arts and culture, and wealth building to promote community revitalization and place making, and help transform the political and economic environment.

Sankofa Community Farm at Bartram’s Garden

Located within Bartram’s Garden, a 45-acre National Historic Landmark operated by the John Bartram Association and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Sankofa Community Farm is a 4-acre farm guided by the West African idea of Sankofa—a concept that embraces new learning while remembering the past and one’s roots.  Cultivated by 20 paid local high school interns and about 1,500 volunteers, the garden produces over 15,000 pounds of food a year, which it sells affordably at neighborhood farm stands and through partnerships with area groceries, and 80,000 seedlings, which are transplanted to over 130 farms and gardens in the Philadelphia area.

Philly Urban Creators

Founded in 2010 by area youth, Philly Urban Creators transforms neglected landscapes in North Philadelphia into dynamic safe spaces that foster connectivity, self-sufficiency, and innovation.  To do so, the nonprofit relies on urban agriculture, interest-based learning, artistic expression, restorative justice, and celebration to foster neighborhood stabilization and youth development.  The group’s base is Life Do Grow, a two-acre former garbage dump Urban Creators converted into an urban farm, art gallery, and creative hub.  The farm grows organic produce, which it provides to local families and sells to the community at its farmers market.  The nonprofit also runs a youth leadership program that empowers young people by engaging them in full-time work and training at the farm, and provides workshops and consulting to help others grow healthy food and life styles.

Mill Creek Urban Farm

Mill Creek Urban Farm is a people of color-led educational farm and environmental education center in West Philadelphia that focuses on cultivating a healthy environment, growing strong communities, and promoting a just and sustainable food system.  On a yearly basis, the nonprofit harvests over 5,000 pounds of chemical free-produce, about a fifth of which is donated to local food pantries, and engages over 1,000 people in farm-based education programs. To help youth in the Mill Creek neighborhood gain leadership and job skills, the farm also offers paid high school internships.

Promoting Empowerment and Enrichment Resources (P.E.E.R., Inc.)

Established in 2005, Promoting Empowerment and Enrichment Resources (P.E.E.R., Inc.) works to ensure that residents of Birmingham’s South East Lake community have access to the resources they need for healthy living, learning, and work.  The nonprofit runs a seasonal farmer’s market that includes cooking demonstrations and health screening events and has a mobile market to ensure all residents can access healthy, fresh produce.  Through P.E.E.R.’s commercial kitchen space, community residents can participate in a culinary training program, and products made by the “chef-apprentices” are sold to generate revenues to help support P.E.E.R.’s work.

Magic City Agriculture Project

Founded in 2011 to foster racial, economic, and environmental justice, the Magic City Agriculture Project (MCAP) helps communities of color and cash poor communities organize community-based democratic institutions and cooperative businesses, with a focus on sustainable agribusinesses.  MCAP is credited with helping people living in the Historic Smithfield Community form Dynamite Hill–Smithfield Community Land Trust (DH-SCLT), which became the first land trust in Birmingham in June of 2016.  The nonprofit also supports a small farm in the Historic Smithfield Community, which is considered a food desert.  To help develop the next generation of community leaders and organizers, MCAP’s Birmingham Institute runs numerous educational programs on a range of social justice issues.

Jones Valley Teaching Farm

Aiming to ensure area youth can learn, create, and grow a healthy future for themselves and their community, Jones Valley Teaching Farm builds student-centered teaching farms on local school campuses.  To date, the nonprofit has created 7 such farms through which it has engaged nearly 4,650 students who, collectively, have grown roughly 380 varieties of fruits and vegetables.  To foster youth entrepreneurship and promote access to fresh products, Jones Valley Teaching Farm also helps participants develop student farmer’s markets through which they sell harvested produce and flowers.