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About | Chesapeake Foodshed Network


The Chesapeake Foodshed Network (CFN) is a regional food system initiative, rooted in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

A food system encompasses all actors & actions required to get food from farm to plate & back into the soil. The functioning of the food system is complex with far-reaching impacts on communities, land, & waterways.


A sustainable, resilient, inclusive and equitable food system that supports healthy communities, land and waterways in the Chesapeake Bay watershed


  • Healthy people
  • Vibrant farms and fisheries
  • Justice and equity
  • Sustainable ecosystems (land and water)
  • Thriving communities
  • Prosperous economies

Everyone who supports the CFN’s vision & values is encouraged to participate!

The CFN is open to organizations, businesses, government agencies, institutions, funders, & food system stakeholders.

Become a Network Participant!
Network Participants support the CFN Food System Vision & serve as CFN ambassadors to further weave the Network.

Network Participant benefits:

  • Access Work Groups, resources, the CFN Stakeholder Directory, Network trainings, professional development & learning
  • Contribute to advancing regional food system priority areas
  • Participate in CFN events & travel delegations
  • Receive The HIVE: Resources for Food System Changemakers once/month
  • Share work & interests via CFN communication platforms
    … and more!

Ready to harvest the benefits? Sign up here!

The CFN identifies food system Priority Areas for the region & facilitates connection, alignment, & action via the Network Building Blocks to support a sustainable, resilient, equitable, & inclusive food system within the Chesapeake Bay region.

The CFN Priority Areas highlight critical food system themes across the Chesapeake Bay region that are prioritized & focused upon by the CFN.
The Priority Areas are identified through CFN stakeholder surveys, regional reports, & network communications. Current CFN Priority Areas include: Equity & Inclusion; Farm to Institution; & Food Waste & Recovery. Food Policy & Workforce Development are cross-cutting issues woven throughout all of the Priority Areas.

The Network Building Blocks image showcases the CFN’s strategy to support transformation around food system reform.
The CFN serves as convener & facilitator of learning, connecting, & collaborative action in support of the regional food system vision. The foundation is based on connectivity, growing relationships & trust, providing stability & strength to people & groups as opportunities to align & collaborate are identified. Examples of activities that support Connections include: webinars; videoconferences; & sharing of resources. CFN activities that support Alignment include: events; gatherings; Work Groups; & Action Teams. Examples of Action include: policy work; advocacy; fundraising; & project implementation.
Adapted by Local Concepts, LLC from Curtis Ogden, Interaction Institute for Social Change

Why Regional?
  • Necessary to tackle complex, systemic problems
  • Essential for urban areas
  • Crucial for addressing issues at the correct scale
  • Key to resiliency in terms of scale & encompassing urban & rural
  • Transcendent of political boundaries

For more info, check out Kate Clancy’s CFN webinar on “Why Regional? (March 2016)

Why a Foodshed within a Watershed?

Watershed and foodshed health are inextricably connected. The Chesapeake foodshed therefore mirrors the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which encompasses 64,000 square miles and is home to 18 million people. The Bay itself produces 500 million pounds of seafood each year, and the land in the watershed supports a $10 billion food and fiber agriculture industry. And yet, agriculture is the single biggest contributor of pollutants to the Bay, significantly degrading water quality. The CFN was formed to accelerate positive change across the Chesapeake foodshed, in support of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  While the watershed underscores the intrinsic connection that agriculture has to water, and the implications of agriculture on water quality, the regional boundaries are not meant to be exclusive.

Why a Network?
  • Values the interdependence of the system & intentionally strengthens connections, knowledge, & collaborations across the system
  • Grows capacity for individuals & organizations to collaborate & co-create better, faster, stronger, smarter
  • Fosters strong infrastructure of relationships
  • Impacts positively on individual organizations
  • Accelerates & increases positive impacts on issues of shared concern

Check out this six minute CFN 101 video presentation by Christy Gabbard, CFN Network Manager

Still want to learn more?

Click on our Overview packet to the left here!

“In a creative analogue to the watershed, permaculturist Arthur Getz…introduced the term ‘foodshed’ to facilitate critical thought about where our food is coming from and how it is getting to us. We find the ‘foodshed’ to be a particularly rich and evocative metaphor; but it is much more than metaphor.”

– Coming In To The Foodshed

“Watersheds have natural boundaries defined by the shape of the land & the flow of water. A watershed is all the land that drains to the same body of water, [like the Chesapeake Bay]. Smaller watersheds become part of larger watershed, as streams feed into rivers, and rivers flow into oceans. This means wherever you are and wherever you go, you’re in a watershed.”

Healthy Watersheds, Healthy People