World Food Policy Center research addresses economic development through food justice; root causes and narratives of racial inequity in the food system; the role of institutions in support community-led food justice work; decision-making, power & benefit; food systems analysis; and public health & nutrition.

We seek to:

  • understand the characteristics of white dominant culture in the US food system, and how to guide individuals and organizations through the process of creating pathways to food system equity and resilience
  • advance understanding of and strategies for community economic development through food
  • engage critical audiences and change agents in a deeper understanding of food systems challenges, research advances, and pilot solutions
  • contribute to food policy improvement by educating the next generation of professionals through hands-on, applied research

We catalyze innovative thinking and coordinated action to change policy and practice across the food system. To do this, we intentionally bridge the worlds of academia, industry, philanthropy, non-profits, governance, community, and culture. We conduct work at the global, national, and local levels in Durham and rural North Carolina.

Why Bridging is Needed to Improve Food Policy

Disconnected Policies

Food systems are impacted by policies from many different governing agencies, including  agricultural policy, education policy, local/regional/national/international development policy, environmental policy, health policy and more.

Disconnected Management & Oversight

Critical components of the food system are not managed as a whole. Such components include use of natural resources, food production, distribution, consumption, and food waste.

Impact on Human Health

Diet-related disease is now linked to 8 out of 10 leading causes of death worldwide.

Inequity in Food Access

Marginalized communities are disproportionately burdened by current systems of food production, distribution, and marketing.

Impact on the Planet
Food production methods are a significant cause of environmental degradation and greenhouse gas.
No standard for measuring success

The lack of globally relevant standards--and accountability--contributes to disconnection and insular efforts to improve the food system.