An ideal food community should result in a community where everyone, everywhere has access to healthy, affordable food, where we’ve reduced the negative consequences of poor foods, and where food businesses are profiting without negatively impacting other people and the environment. The WFPC launched a Model Food Communities (MFC) program to explore what it looks like to get everything right in one place regarding food systems, and to understand what policies help or hurt local communities. Our program is exploring both an urban and rural community in order to better understand the differences, challenges, and potential synergies possible. Models are necessary to build upon existing local innovations and to connect people, practice, research, and policy so that the work can be amplified to promote improved food systems.
The MFC program work involves an intensive discovery phase through community listening tours and research, convenings to map the stakeholders, state of the practice, and state of the science. Throughout this process, the MFC program elevates the discoveries and innovations of local change-makers, connects local change-makers to each other and to policymakers, and identifies bright spots, gaps and opportunities. The end product will be a blueprint of best practices local communities are utilizing to achieve an ideal food community.
We are centering this work in our own backyard with Duke University and Durham County, as well as examining rural models in Edgecombe County. The WFPC’s MFC program is exploring topics of early childhood development and nutrition, food and faith, food as a driver for economic development and improving racial equity in the food system.