Despite its productivity, the conventional food system in the United States is fraught with inequity, negative environmental impacts and threats to human health. Every week, new stories surface about the crisis in our food system, from environmental degradation to inhumane conditions for farm workers to lack of access to good food, particularly among low-income communities and communities of color.
At the same time, a revolution is underway: Communities across the United States are taking matters into their own hands, creating innovative programs that increase access to food, improve health, protect the environment, generate community wealth and address historical inequities. Against the backdrop of the conventional food system, these community-based innovators are charting the course to a healthier, more sustainable future. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.1–MARGARET MEAD1 Lutkehaus, Nancy C., 2008, Margaret Mead: The Making of an American Icon. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, p. 261. From the Ground UpExecutive Summary | 5With the engagement and support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Wallace Center at Winrock International worked with partners Common Market and Changing Tastes to identify, document and analyze successful community-based innovations in the U.S. food system. The research targeted projects grounded in community and utilize innovative strategies to produce or provide healthy, fair, affordable and sustainably grown food. Individually and in combination, these community-based projects are transforming the way food is grown, processed, distributed, marketed and consumed in the United States.