History

In 2012, a group of regional thought-leaders articulated that while extraordinary work was being done to address components of the Chesapeake Bay food system, it was often siloed, with little to no interaction, resulting in inefficiencies & slow progress toward sustainability & equity.

They agreed that a holistic approach is required to effect lasting transformation. These thought-leaders conceived of a regional network to provide a framework for connection, alignment, & collaborative action across the foodshed, based on the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The idea for the Chesapeake Foodshed Network (CFN) was born.

After securing funds, Network management, & initial visioning, the CFN hosted the first annual Chesapeake Region Food System Summit in 2016. Over 100 representatives from Washington, D.C. & 6 Chesapeake Bay states, from across food system sectors gathered to talk about challenges facing the region’s food system, consider a regional vision, & review preliminary findings of an assessment of existing food system work conducted by Arabella Advisors.

Findings from the 2016 Chesapeake Region Food System Summit indicated:

  • Strong readiness for action & watershed-scale collaboration
  • Readiness to move forward a food system vision centered on equity, inclusion, & the region’s cultural identity
  • Resounding interest & enthusiasm for the following food system focus areas:
    • Equity & Inclusion
    • Food Waste & Recovery
    • Farm to Institution
    • with additional cross-cutting interest in Workforce Development & Food Policy

These focus areas have become the current CFN Priority Areas & form the basis for Work Groups, Action Teams, & other regional initiatives.

 

“Chesapeake Regional Food Systems Assessment Preliminary Findings”

Arabella Advisors

 

“Our theory is that a regional vision that is broad, inclusive, and ambitious will help to coalesce the extraordinary work happening in little pockets around our region, align much needed resources, and accelerate progress towards a more just, sustainable, and healthy food system.”

Meredith Lathbury-Girard

Senior Program Officer, Town Creek Foundation

“Good food for all: An assessment of food system efforts in the Chesapeake Foodshed”

– Arabella Advisors

The Good Food For All report identifies cross-cutting opportunities that support Summit findings:

  1. Addressing structural barriers to creating an equitable food system
  2. Strengthening advocacy capacity of food system stakeholders
  3. Improving value chain infrastructure & regional coordination of food systems
  4. Leveraging opportunities to improve public health by engaging schools & health care organizations in regional food initiatives
  5. Opening mainstream & institutional markets