Together we can build a better food system. We envision a Connecticut where everyone has access to safe, nutritious, culturally appropriate, and affordable food; where the food system is more reliant on local and regional production; where the food supply chain, including farms and fisheries but also grocery stores and restaurants, supports many vibrant and varied businesses that provide sustainable livelihoods; where there is broad public awareness and passionate public support of a robust local food system; and where stewardship of soil, water, air and energy resources is institutionalized as an integral part of a resilient and robust regional culture of food, health and community.
The Story of CFSA
In January 2011, a grassroots collective of food and farm advocates in Connecticut met as the Food, Farms, and Jobs working group. The group formed with the intention to bring together people from across the state who were already talking about food system change, to develop a shared understanding of the major opportunities for, and challenges to, strengthening Connecticut’s food system. This working group concentrated on prioritizing a set of recommended actions that, when implemented in a strategic and collaborative manner, will make a growing and robust local food economy part of Connecticut’s sustainable future. The group drafted a white paper including a list of major challenge areas and a set of recommended actions to address each problem area within the decade. After many development and design meetings, the working group decided that it needed to become an activist organization with advocacy as a function. The white paper became the groundwork for what is now the Connecticut Food System Alliance.
Ten years later, Connecticut Food System Alliance is still working towards a more equitable and just local food system. The Alliance’s major project is developing the state’s first Food Action Plan. Connecticut is the only state in New England that does not have a Food Action Plan, a document to guide advocacy and policy work as well as ensure that our goals align with regional goals for sustainability and equity.
Connecticut Food System Alliance (CFSA) is a state-wide network of dedicated stakeholders committed to creating broad systems change and advancing a sustainable and just food system in Connecticut. CFSA builds connections between groups and people committed to our shared goals. In 2014 Hartford Food System began to formally house CFSA, but collaborators from all over the state contribute to CFSA’s initiatives and goals. Currently, CFSA has two people on staff who coordinate events and communicate general information. Additionally, a growing steering committee shapes the network initiatives and Food Action Plan.
- Ali Ghiorse, The Foodshed Network
- Jennie Hirsch, Connecticut Foodshare
- Sarah Huang, New England Grassroots Environment Fund
- Ryan Kennedy, Brigaid
- Brandon Monti, Fresher Choice
- Martha Page, Hartford Food System
- Courtney Renton, City Seed
- Alexa Sosa, Tierra, Agua y Sol
- Latha Swamy, City of New Haven Food Policy Division
- Cyrena Thibodeau, CT Department of Agriculture
- Peggy Zamore, Danbury Farmers’ Market
We’re conducting a network assessment! We want to know how you engage with the network, CFSA’s impact on your work, and how you want to support and participate in the network. Your input is important! This first ever network assessment will act as a benchmark for future assessments.
CFSA works closely with regional partners to ensure our initiatives and goals fit into the regional picture.
- Food Solutions New England
- Rhode Island Food Policy Council
- Vermont Farm to Plate
- Massachusetts Food System Collaborative
- New Hampshire Food Alliance
- Maine Food Strategy
New England Feeding New England
In 2019, the New England State Food System Planners Partnership launched the New England Feeding New England (NEFNE): Cultivating A Reliable Food Supply Project, a 10-year initiative to prepare the region for system shocks such as climate-related weather events and public health emergencies. The Partnership comprises six statewide organizations including Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, Maine Food Strategy, New Hampshire Food Alliance, Massachusetts Food System Collaborative, Connecticut Food System Alliance, and Rhode Island Food Policy Council, who each work to strengthen their state’s food system.
This project represents the region’s best hope of averting the negative impacts of severe weather events and future pandemics on our food system and supporting large, economically viable markets for local and regional food. The Partnership will lead a collaborative regional planning process with appropriate state agencies, other state and regional public officials, industry leaders, and nonprofit stakeholders that will result in a more resilient New England food system where shorter supply chains and more local production have increased food security for all New England residents.
NEFNE’s goal is for 30% of food consumed in New England to be produced or harvested in New England by 2030.
Join CFSA’s listserv to stay connected with the alliance’s initiatives and schedule of free events. Send an email to Marcella at email@example.com to stay connected.