Individuals, who are food insecure, are more likely to have long term health impacts including poor physical and behavioral health. These effects are often compounded for Black, Latino, and Native American households grappling with greater food insecurity, higher rates of chronic diseases, and lack access to healthy, nutritious food. As a result, many North Carolinians struggle to remain healthy during their lifespan.
The Food Promising Strategies are best practices set at the intersection of strengthening local food infrastructure, the regional food system by leveraging community level investments, and policy and advocacy efforts. Investments in food systems can become the economic engine creating pathways to thriving local economies and enabling the accumulation of generational wealth for those who were systemically denied opportunities in the past.
Experts in food security and regional stakeholders identified nine Promising Strategies for cross-sector investment in North Carolina’s food system. Learn more about each strategy below.
Click here to view the criteria for the Promising Strategies.
Strengthen the local emergency food infrastructure to meet communities’ evolving needs.
Empower small-scale farm businesses-prioritizing BIPOC and women-owned farms-to strengthen their business models and deploy access to new markets, land, and services to create increased, sustainable, and economically just production.
Expand and strengthen the local food economy, including farmers markets, mobile markets, and CSAs, so more residents can access healthy foods.
Build infrastructure, including community kitchens, food processors (value added producers), and food incubators, to encourage food entrepreneurs and promote the local food economy.
Help community-based institutions contract to purchase healthy food from local farmers and farm businesses.
Engage community leaders and local “anchor institutions” (hospitals and other key nonprofits) in using local assets to address the drivers of health.
Expand food infrastructure so that local and regional food producers can gather, distribute, and market their food products to serve local needs.
Connect hospitals, health centers, public health departments, and health insurers with suppliers and sellers of locally grown food to support “Food is Medicine” programs.
Work with existing food policy councils and other advocacy networks to develop more inclusive, supportive, effective food policies and create a stronger advocacy infrastructure.
To fully implement these Food Promising Strategies, it will require a collaborative funding approach. The Investment Map provides estimates of monetary needs from public agencies, corporations, and philanthropic funders to improve food assets in local communities. These five-year funding estimates are separated by region and require community engagement and due diligence prior to carrying out the investment. It is essential that strategic funding alignment takes place in coordination with community-led, local processes that ensures input from the people and entities that will share in the outcome.
To realize the full potential of investments, the five-year funding estimates by the Food Promising Strategy provides data on financing sources from public agencies, corporations, and philanthropic funders. The Investment Map provides background and assumptions behind the investment estimate, including source, purpose of capital, stage, vehicle, and frequency. For each Promising Strategy, investors can determine if funding needs are recurring. start-up capital, possible vehicle types– grant funding, contract (where an entity pays for services), debt capital (where financiers loan money to a local business or community-based organizations), or the usage of state funding or tax credits.