Community Food Stories Project
The Community Food Stories Project was developed during the delayed, extended and continuing 2012/13 Farm Bill reauthorization process, when programs critical to building a sustainable and equitable food system were left stranded. Some of these programs include funding to support and promote: school gardens and garden-based curriculum; access to healthy, affordable food; land stewardship and conservation; fruit and vegetable growers, small and beginning farmers, and farmers of color.
With one ear to the ground, and one ear to the Hill, CFJC recognizes that what is missing most in federal policy reform is the connection between public policy and communities. Namely, we want to ask, how does what happens in Washington D.C. affect people’s lives? The Community Food Stories Project aims to transform food and farm policy to reflect the needs of communities. Through the Project, CFJC will work to uplift and document the stories of those working on the ground, advocate for equitable food and farm legislation, educate our legislators on issues of equity, and build people power to ensure that communities once again hold the most powerful voice for legislation that will impact them. At CFJC, we believe the power of story can lead to transformation. It can be hard to fully understand the impact legislation has on you and your community, which is why CFJC works to make those connections between people and policy. Through various forms of storytelling, the Community Food Stories Project works to connect the dots in three main ways:
- Impact Legislation – Policies made on the national, state and local levels have huge impacts on people and communities. The stories uplifted through this project shed light on the positive impacts critical programs have on urban and rural communities and our food system throughout the country. By telling these stories, our legislators can learn about the great work being done in communities because of equitable policies, more people can learn why equity is important in public policy, and we can more effectively advocate on current and future legislation.
- Community Power –The biggest part of the Community Food Stories Project is building connections and partnerships through dialogue and information sharing. Being connected to partners who work closely with legislators, CFJC is in a position to share what we hear in terms of public policy decision making and policy processes. We have realistic discussions about what policies mean for our partners who work with and provide services for local community members. By transmitting knowledge of what is happening on the policy level to those who are directly impacted by those policies, communities once again hold the most powerful voice. These conversations put the power back into the hands of the community.
- Documentation and Communication – By sharing and documenting stories, we are able to share experiences beyond our inner circle, and learn from each other. Stories have been told in cultures for centuries, to share community knowledge, practices, and values. The Community Food Stories Project is a platform to document, through the voice of the community, the important stories of how our food and farm policy affects people in their every day lives. The stories can exhibit ways in which we work together to build a community-driven food system where policies support the community’s needs.