Our team culture, project structure and approach for accomplishing this work all revolve around the following guiding principles:
Circle Forward is an inclusive, consent-based governance practice that we use to ensure full group participation. This practice is particularly useful in meetings, building consensus, and creating better products with everyone’s input. It’s another tool emerging as a better way to run organizations, manage businesses and build networks for collective impact.
Collective Impact is an effective model for cross-collaboration to address complex issues and environmental challenges. This model brings diverse groups together in a structured way to find alignment and achieve social change. Community Food Strategies is an intentionally multi-organizational initiative to reflect this model and the wealth that comes from partnerships.
According to Network Weaver Handbook author June Holley, an intentional network is a network of people and organizations working on the same issue or vision, along with structures designed and created to mobilize the energy of the group. A strong intentional network requires attention in three areas – relationships, support structure, and coordinated action, all of which are critical to effective food councils.
Although many communities suffer from food system disparities, data shows that communities of color suffer disproportionately. For example, of the 12.3% of American households that were food insecure in 2016, rates of food insecurity were substantially higher for Black- (22.5%) and Hispanic-headed (18.5%) households than for White-headed households (9.3%).*
The effect of food insecurity on communities of color is magnified, making the issue not exclusively about race, but inherently racialized. In this light, we work for those on the margins to uplift everyone. Community Food Strategies is guided by this lens in our approach and work with the support of our project partner, Committee on Racial Equity in the Food System.
Results-based Accountability (RBA) is a data-driven, decision making framework for priority setting, action planning and evaluation that helps communities and organizations improve complex social problems. Developed by Mark Friedman and described in his book “Trying Hard is Not Good Enough”, RBA is being used across the United States and around the world to create measurable change in people’s lives, communities and organizations.
Whole Measures of Community Food Systems
Whole Measures for Community Food Systems are six values or fields of practice that describe the people, food, and the land of a community-based food system. Whole Measures for Community Food Systems is a planning and evaluation tool developed the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC, no longer in operation) in partnership with the Center for Whole Communities, who now stewards the work. By using Whole Measures, organizations can look beyond their specific mission and consider a comprehensive vision for a healthy community which includes:
- Justice and fairness
- Strong communities
- Thriving local economies
- Resilient ecosystems
- Healthy people
- Vibrant farms and gardens