Collaboration Ideas From Survey Participants

During our convening, participants noted additional opportunities for collaboration, ranging from improving access to funding to building staff competency around racial equity. The ideas presented below are thought starters from convening participants in areas they would like support in.

  • Funding: Access to funding is a challenge for organizations working in food distribution, particularly smaller community-based organizations that may not have dedicated development personnel or experience working with funders/government agencies. Survey participants noted that food funders could work together to align on funding requirements (e.g., proposal structure, reporting metrics, etc.) to create a more streamlined, equitable and transparent grant-application and reporting processes.
  • Relationship-building and customer priorities: Survey participants noted that organization and customer priorities can be mismatched, and that there is an opportunity to create resident feedback loops to understand customer priorities. Organizations could develop more and stronger partnerships with community members who take home and/or participate in distribution programs, as well as other stakeholders that work in the system either directly or indirectly (government, for-profit, nonprofit, community-based organizations, etc.), to better understand what these priorities are. Some survey participants also suggested creating neighborhood-level asset maps┬áto identify community strengths, including neighborhood associations and individual residents, as a starting point to develop community-led and -informed food access solutions in support of neighborhood residents. Organizations that distribute produce could also explore collaboration opportunities with organizations that have strong community engagement/development models.
  • Racial equity: A strong local/regional food system must also be inclusive and equitable. Organizations expressed a critical need to build staff competency around income and racial equity through trainings to ensure that distribution programs are equitable and inclusive. Participants noted a desire for racial equity training to ensure that new and future food access efforts are created through a racial and income equity lens.