Community Food Strategies is a coalition; formed by a network of organizations and people all across North Carolina, working together for food systems network development.

 General About the Organization/Mission

Community Food Strategies is not one organization; instead it is an entire coalition of people and organizations working across the state to strengthen and development more resilient and sustainable food systems. As of 2014, Community Food Strategies is led by and is an initiative of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS).

 Across North Carolina, communities are developing food councils, which are working on developing and implementing the best practices for food system progress. Community Food Strategies works to strengthen these councils and provide a network for connecting with other councils. Through the Community Food Strategies, councils are able to share and access information, tools, resources, assistance, and training.

Funded by Blue Cross, Blue Shield.

Basic Info

Type of Organization Coalition/Network of Organizations
Primary Contact Contact Us
Social Media

  Wordpress Blog (main website)

Issues of Focus

  • Engage both community members and local government leaders in the conversation around food system activities, priorities, and planning.
  • Form partnerships with state agencies and organizations that are interested in sharing resources and aligning investments with local priorities.
  • Incorporate learning into the planning stages of development, engage a variety of people to learn what works and what doesn’t work.
  • Building intentional networks of networks of food policy councils.

 History of Organization

Community Food Strategies was created to provide a network for food councils to share knowledge, resources, tools, and train each other while working toward developing resilient food systems.

Programs and Projects 

Food councils can develop in many different ways. To help interested communities learn which methods work best, Community Food Strategies created five phases to help guide interested groups through the process.

Seed Phase: The Seed Phase is the initial planning and brainstorming phase of development. During the Seed Phase, a group of people or community may have just started thinking about creating a food council or food systems network. To continue in this phase, gather a group volunteers who are interested in developing a food council and represent the community and local food system as a whole. Learn the role a food council can play in the community.

Start-Up Phase: When in the Start-Up Phase, it is likely that the community has agreed a food council is needed and has selected a group of individuals dedicated to creating the council. During this phase, the group decides what a food council would like in their community and what factors are needed for a food council to survive. This phase usually takes 12 months, full of focus groups and meetings with key stakeholders to determine the critical needs. The Start-Up Phase is also the time to discover where opposition to a food council may lie and who, if possible, to mitigate it. Local government recognition of the council should also be made at this time.

Growth Phase: The Growth Phase is the time to turn the food council into a reality. This is the time to start working out logistics – Is there an inclusive decision-making process? What does the council structure look like? Are there adequate resources to support the council’s functionality? What resources are available? Has a strategic plan been developed? The Growth Phase is critical to the success of the council; effective and inclusive communication must exist during this phase.

Expansion Phase: The Expansion Phase can happen in conjunction with the Growth Phase. At this point, the food council should start to have clear structure and direction. The council should be including the community on progress made and should being taking action towards completing projects and initiatives. The council should be connecting and sharing opportunities with other food councils in the area and should be aware of what works and what doesn’t in their community.

Mature Phase: The Mature Phase is ongoing; upon reaching the mature phase, a food council is established and successful. Long-term goals have been met and improved upon. The council has shifted and changed its focus to remain relevant in their community. 

Partners and Frequent Collaborators

The complete list of food councils involved with Community Food Strategies:

Future Developments for This Wiki