Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation for Equitable Community Food Systems

In recognition of food-related inequities facing minority communities, United Way of Buffalo & Erie County developed the Community Food Systems Grant (CFSG) program in 2017 to implement strategies that promote food equity and food sovereignty in the city of Buffalo and the greater Buffalo area. The CFSG program goes beyond increasing people’s physical access to good food to advancing equity and sovereignty in the food system, amplifying marginalized people’s agency, resources, and capabilities to use the food system for their own health and wellbeing. The CFSG program aims to foster ongoing collaboration within the food security network in the community, improve access to healthy foods, create food-related job opportunities, promote food entrepreneurship, strengthen food skills, and establish food policy that supports the above initiatives. With funding support from the General Mills Foundation, United Way selected 13 community organizations – those of which are uniquely positioned to promote systems change in the region – to receive CFSG funding to strengthen the city’s food system. The Food Lab is working closely with the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County to document the impact of the CFSG program on the city of Buffalo. Results from this evaluation will inform local stakeholders as well as broader food systems work nationally.