National Partnership Takes Aim at Strengthening Local Food Connections
April 5, 2016
Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in conjunction with 15 philanthropic partners that include RSF Social Finance, announced a new initiative aimed at bolstering local food supply chains in ten urban areas. Named Food LINC, the project will focus on increasing customer access to goods produced by farmers and ranchers in their respective regions.
To read the full USDA press release, click here.
Combined, federal and philanthropic partners have contributed nearly $3 million toward the initiative. The funds will go to organizations hosting Food LINC coordinators, who are tasked with building relationships, identifying resources, and determining next steps in the development of robust regional food systems.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this funding circle,” said Kate Danaher, senior manager for the food and agriculture portfolio at RSF. “This initiative is truly a recognition of how important these interpersonal relationships are to building a more resilient food system.”
Coordinators will be embedded at host organizations for up to three years. In Kentucky, RSF will support coordinator Sarah Fritschner, who will be hosted by the City of Louisville’s Farm to Table program. The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board is also a partner.
“Value chain coordinators are an integral part in the larger system,” said Fritschner. “It’s a role that helps Kentucky farmers participate in improving the health of the land, the community, and, ultimately, the Commonwealth.”
“Local food systems everywhere require more than a buyer and a seller,” Fritschner added. “They need a complete retooling in how everyone buys and thinks about food.”
In the Delaware Valley, RSF is partnering with the Surdna Foundation to host a coordinator at Fair Food Philly.
Food LINC is part of the USDA Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative. For a complete list of partners and host groups, see the full USDA announcement.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misnamed the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board as the “Kentucky Agriculture Development Board.”