Building community

While much of the work focuses on the food market, there are important opportunities to engage in local food matters that don’t necessarily involve market economies. We help raise community voices to share the value of local food not just as an expression of needs but of strengths too. Together we can discover a more beneficial alternative to the conventional, dysfunctional food system.

EXPANSION OF COMMUNITY FOOD COALITIONS. Effective policy work means getting to know people, building relationships, and partnering with decision makers. We encourage multi-sector involvement of groups not normally associated with food or farming. Our ideal set of coalition members includes:

  • Elected officials
  • Food and agricultural agencies
  • Farmers and their associates
  • Food banks or hunger advocates
  • Cooperative Extension or higher education representatives
  • Public health workers and nutritionists
  • Environmental and sustainable community advocates
  • Parks and Recreation representatives
  • Urban gardening organizations
  • Food processors, retailers
  • Small business support and local lending organizations
  • Interested community members

EXPANSION OF FUNDING. The proposed work comes with specific responsibilities for a number of actors. To ensure completion, the RFSA must be an organized entity funded to coordinate this extensive food policy blueprint. Despite the great need in our region, a 2009 report from The James Irvine Foundation, “The Inland Empire Nonprofit Sector: A Growing Region Faces the Challenges of Capacity,” showed Inland Empire nonprofits received only $27 per capita from all foundations. Statewide the average is $119 per person, and $650 in the Bay Area. We deserve better and we’re working for it.

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