Community Food Funders: NYC Food Based Community Organization Spotlight

by Alexina Cather, MPH

What they do: Community Food Funders (CFF) provides grantmakers and funders the opportunity to a) understand the dynamics of the existing regional food system including land, water, labor, infrastructure, research, financing, access, programs and policy, and b) identify opportunities for investment that leverages the changes necessary to create a sustainable and equitable food system throughout the region.

How they do it: CFF facilitates roundtable discussions, funder briefings, site visits, and social gatherings to foster information-sharing and networking among funders. CFF also aggregates and disseminates information and resources to its members, provides a venue through which members can sponsor issue-specific meetings and events, and complements the work of other regional and national groups of similar intent. CFF distributes a monthly e-newsletter highlighting food systems news, upcoming events, key studies, and other information of interest to funders.

Mission: Community Food Funders (CFF) is a philanthropic organizing project that provides information, resources and networking opportunities for funders in the NY-NJ-CT region. We support the transition to an equitable, ecologically sound and economically robust regional food system that optimizes local growing, processing and distribution within this region, and balances it with fair trade between regions and internationally.

Latest project/campaign: CFF hosted a briefing in December focused on food as a community-building tool featuring a panel discussion with representatives from a foundation, a settlement houses, a nonprofit organization, and an academic researcher / evaluator.

Major Funding: 100 percent of our funding comes from the members of our steering committee.

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual budget: N/A

Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system:

CFF strives to transition our food system to one that pursues a true triple bottom line. A system that is

  • Equitable for people all along the food chain, from the producers and farm laborers to the processors and distributors all the way to retailers, consumers, and waste handlers.
  • Ecologically sound so that food is produced, transported, and consumed in a way that eliminates or minimizes the use of toxic chemicals and fossil fuels, and is regenerative and sustainable in its production.
  • Economically robust supporting a multiplicity of ownership models for enterprises along the food supply chain, without disproportionate control or influence by transnational corporations, and without barriers to entry.

In pursuit of this goal, we believe that those most impacted and negatively affected by the current system should be part of the dialogue about moving forward, including decision-making and visioning.



Location: Manhattan

Core Programs:

A series of educational briefings to highlight central issues, obstacles, and solutions relevant for food system funding in our region; an annual gathering each spring for CFF members and invited guests; summertime site visits to take a deeper dive on a single issue or location.

Number of staff: 1

Number of volunteers: 0

Areas served: New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut

Date started: 2011

Coordinator: Adam Liebowitz

Contact information:

(212) 620-9110

Photo credit: Neha Gautum

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