Health : Concern about the health and healthcare cost implications of the increase in obesity and associated diseases underlies some funders’ focus on increasing supply of healthy, fresh food sourced from local/regional producers Economic development : Many funders and investors—private as well as public—are recognizing the potential inherent in the local/regional food movement, especially in tough economic times, and are seeking ways to support sustainable agriculture and local/regional food systems advances as economic development that supports healthy landscapes, healthy producers and healthy communities Food sovereignty/local food system resilience : Concern about the over-reliance by industrial agriculture and the global food system on fossil fuels, petrochemical inputs, monocultures, and inhumane working conditions is leading some funders to focus on supporting the (re-)building of regional/local food systems based on more sustainable practices Many funders see support for local/regional food system development as an important venue for protecting open space & wildlife corridors, and promoting smart growth, particularly clustered, transit-oriented development. Working landscapes conservation : Many funders see support for local/regional food system development as an important venue for protecting open space & wildlife corridors, and promoting smart growth, particularly clustered, transit-oriented development.
Enormous potential demand for local/regional food : Institutions--K-12 schools, colleges & universities, hospitals, senior living/long-term care facilities, correctional facilities, etc.--serve tens of thousands of meals each day Farm-to-school : F2S is maturing as a movement, as FINE and School Food FOCUS are demonstrating, and leading the way in developing the processes and infrastructure to bring healthy, fresh local/regional food to thousands of school children every day Emergence of strong NGOs in other institutional sectors and along the value chain : Health Care Without Harm, Real Food Challenge, Red Tomato, Wholesome Wave, et. al. Growing focus on F2I by state and federal agencies : In New England, each state has a planning process underway to expand agriculture and food systems development, and the six states are joining as a region to discuss the future of the New England food system. Farm-to-institution is a key strategy to expand agriculture/food production in virtually every state plan, and across the region as well.
Engage private philanthropy as a partner in regional food systems work from the beginning, if possible : Having funders at the table from the beginning allows them to learn about the challenges inherent in F2I/food systems change directly from practitioners Better educated, more involved funders make better funding decisions Better educated, more involved funders make better advocates : Funders who understand the complexity of F2I are better able to make the case for the strategic importance of pursuing this strategy and to encourage investment in the strategy from others Attracting other resources to F2I/food systems change : Private foundations have non-grant sources of support (PRI/MRI) and relationships with colleagues from other sectors (e.g., health, community/economic development, land conservation, environment), and can also use their grantmaking and investments to leverage public investment in F2I/food systems change efforts, i.e., from state government as in Vermont with Farm-to-Plate
Regional Partnerships and Approaches to Farm to Institution - presentation
Philanthropy as Partner in Regional Farm-to-Institution Collaborations Traditional Philanthropy Model:• Foundation describes & publicizes its interests to NGO community• NGOs respond by submitting proposals for projects that meet the foundation’s interests• After “due diligence” vetting, foundation makes grant to NGO• NGO undertakes activities per proposal description; submits report to foundation at end of grant period• Foundation reviews report and determines whether to invite renewal request based on match between proposed activities/outcomes and reported activities/outcomes
Philanthropy as Partner in Regional Farm-to-Institution CollaborationsEmerging “Collective Impact” Approach to PhilanthropyResearchers John Kania & Stephen Kramer describe the challenges and long-termbenefits of the philanthropic sector partnering with NGOs and others working onsystemic change:“Shifting from isolated impact to collective impact is not merely a matterof encouraging more collaboration or public/private partnerships. Itrequires a systemic approach to social impact that focuses on therelationships between organizations and the progress toward sharedobjectives.”“Mobilizing and coordinating stakeholders is far messier and slowerwork than funding a compelling grant request from a singleorganization. Systemic change, however, ultimately depends on asustained campaign to increase the capacity and coordination of anentire field.”
Philanthropy as Partner in Regional Farm-to-Institution CollaborationsSustainable agriculture and local/regional foodsystems are growing interests in thephilanthropic sector for a variety of reasons:• Health• Economic development• Food sovereignty/local food system resilience• Working landscapes conservation
Philanthropy as Partner in Regional Farm-to-Institution CollaborationsF2I is a key strategy that private philanthropy issupporting to expand regional/local food systemdevelopment:• Enormous potential demand for local/regional food• Farm-to-school• Emergence of strong NGOs in other institutional sectors and along the value chain• Growing focus on F2I by state and federal agencies
Philanthropy as Partner in Regional Farm-to-Institution CollaborationsLeverage, Leverage, Leverage:• Engage private philanthropy as a partner in regional food systems work from the beginning• Better educated, more involved funders make better funding decisions• Better educated, more involved funders make better advocates• Attracting other resources to F2I/food systems change
The John Merck FundBased in Boston, Massachusetts, The John Merck Fund (JMF) was established in 1970by the late Serena Merck and is now in its third generation of family leadership.Starting in 2012, JMF will spend all of its assets over the next ten years to spur progressin clean energy, environmental health, development of a New England regional foodsystem, and treatment of developmental disabilities. JMF will award its last grants in2021 and close its doors in 2022.JMF’s Regional Food Systems Program helps strengthen innovationand entrepreneurship in New Englands expanding market forregionally and sustainably grown food by funding initiatives to developinstitutional demand and the regional supply network. Among currentgrantees are: Farm-to-Institution New England (FINE), Real FoodChallenge, Health Care Without Harm/Healthy Food in Health Care, RedTomato, Wholesome Wave, MOFGA, NOFA-VT, Vermont SustainableJobs Fund/Farm-to-Plate, and more. More information at: http://www.jmfund.org/