Community Foods: Definitions & Explanations
Field to Fork: Food Security in Oklahoma
Community Food Security: Issues of Concern
From the USDA Economic Research Service Briefing Room: Community
Community food security is a relatively new concept with roots
in such disciplines as community nutrition, nutrition education,
public health, sustainable agriculture, and anti-hunger and community
development. There is no universally accepted definition of community
food security. In the broadest terms, community food security can
be described as a prevention-oriented concept that supports the
development and enhancement of sustainable, community-based strategies
to improve access of low-income households to healthful nutritious
food supplies, to increase the self-reliance of communities in providing
for their own food needs, and to promote comprehensive responses
to local food, farm, and nutrition issues.
Policies and programs implemented under the label of community
food security address a diverse range of issues, including:
- Food availability and affordability
- Direct food marketing
- Diet-related health problems
- Participation in and access to federal nutrition assistance
- Ecologically sustainable agricultural production
- Farmland preservation
- Economic viability of rural communities
- Economic opportunity and job security
- Community development and social cohesion
Six Basic Principles of Community Food Security
From the Community Food Security Coalition http://www.foodsecurity.org/views_cfs_faq.html
Community food security represents a comprehensive strategy to address
many of the ills affecting our society and environment due to an
unsustainable and unjust food system. Following are six basic principles
of community food security:
Low Income Food Needs - Like the anti-hunger movement,
CFS is focused on meeting the food needs of low income communities,
reducing hunger and improving individual health.
Broad Goals - CFS addresses a broad range of
problems affecting the food system, community development, and the
environment such as increasing poverty and hunger, disappearing
farmland and family farms, inner city supermarket redlining, rural
community disintegration, rampant suburban sprawl, and air and water
pollution from unsustainable food production and distribution patterns.
Community Focus - A CFS approach seeks to build
up a community's food resources to meet its own needs. These resources
may include supermarkets, farmers' markets, gardens, transportation,
community-based food processing ventures, and urban farms to name
Self-reliance/Empowerment - Community food security
projects emphasize the need to build individuals' abilities to provide
for their food needs. Community food security seeks to build upon
community and individual assets, rather than focus on their deficiencies.
CFS projects seek to engage community residents in all phases of
project planning, implementation, and evaluation.
Local Agriculture - A stable local agricultural
base is key to a community responsive food system. Farmers need
increased access to markets that pay them a decent wage for their
labor, and farmland needs planning protection from suburban development.
By building stronger ties between farmers and consumers, consumers
gain a greater knowledge and appreciation for their food source.
Systems-Oriented - CFS projects typically are "inter-disciplinary,"
crossing many boundaries and incorporating collaborations with multiple
What is a food system?
A food system includes food production, processing, and distribution;
food access and use by individuals, communities and populations;
and food recycling, composting and disposal. Food systems operate
at multiple, interrelated levels— community, state, regional,
national and global.
If it has to do with food, it is part of the food system. If you
eat, you participate in the food system.
project is supported by the Community Food Projects Program of
the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service,
grant # 2004-33800-15141
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