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What is community food security?

Community food security is a condition in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice.

Mike Hamm and Anne Bellows

Six Basic Principles of Community Food Security

Community food security represents a comprehensive strategy to address many of the ills affecting our society and environment due to an unsustainable and unjust food system. Following are six basic principles of community food security:

  • Low Income Food Needs
    Like the anti-hunger movement, CFS is focused on meeting the food needs of low income communities, reducing hunger and improving individual health.
  • Broad Goals
    CFS addresses a broad range of problems affecting the food system, community development, and the environment such as increasing poverty and hunger, disappearing farmland and family farms, inner city supermarket redlining, rural community disintegration, rampant suburban sprawl, and air and water pollution from unsustainable food production and distribution patterns.
  • Community focus
    A CFS approach seeks to build up a communitys food resources to meet its own needs. These resources may include supermarkets, farmers markets, gardens, transportation, community-based food processing ventures, and urban farms to name a few.
  • Self-reliance/empowerment
    Community food security projects emphasize the need to build individuals abilities to provide for their food needs. Community food security seeks to build upon community and individual assets, rather than focus on their deficiencies. CFS projects seek to engage community residents in all phases of project planning, implementation, and evaluation.
  • Local agriculture
    A stable local agricultural base is key to a community responsive food system. Farmers need increased access to markets that pay them a decent wage for their labor, and farmland needs planning protection from suburban development. By building stronger ties between farmers and consumers, consumers gain a greater knowledge and appreciation for their food source.
  • Systems-oriented
    CFS projects typically are inter-disciplinary, crossing many boundaries and incorporating collaborations with multiple agencies.

What One Person Can Do to Support Community Food Security (in PDF format)

Examples of Community Food Security Initiatives (in PDF format)

For more information on Community Food Security issues and programs, see:
CFSC publications
CFSC links
Recommended resources for CFS work
World Hunger Year’s Food Security Learning Center