Resources

Our vision and strategy

The Collaborative's Mission

Supporting collective action toward an equitable, sustainable, resilient, and connected local food system in Massachusetts.

Definitions

An equitable food system is one in which those most vulnerable and those who have been systematically excluded and marginalized due to race, ethnicity, class, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age or other factors can build and exercise power, and benefit and prosper from the choices they make. It ensures economic opportunity and high-quality jobs with living wages for all; safe working conditions; access to healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate food; and environmental sustainability.

A sustainable food system is one where businesses and institutions are financially sound, create economic opportunity, high-quality jobs with living wages  and safe working conditions, operate in ways that protect and enhance the environment, and where healthy food is accessible for all.

A resilient food system is one that is flexible, adaptable, and able to withstand crises and disruptions without collapse or significant or permanent damage to sustainability and equity.

A connected food system is one in which stakeholders - businesses, institutions, non-governmental support organizations, individuals, and others - in all parts of the food system are aware of how their work impacts and is impacted by other sectors and other systems, and work to find solutions that support and benefit the entire food system.

The Collaborative's Vision

The Collaborative envisions a local food system where everyone has access to healthy food, to land to grow food, to good jobs, and to the systems where policy decisions are made.

We envision a network of local food system stakeholders that collaborate with each other in ways that connect them to other sectors of the food system, and support each other’s mutual progress.

We envision a set of informed, engaged stakeholders that actively support policies that promote equity, sustainability, resiliency, and connectivity in the local food system.

We envision a policy-setting process where the individuals and communities most impacted by the policies under consideration are meaningfully involved.

We envision policymakers who understand and recognize the value, breadth, and interconnectivity  of the local food system and who champion, implement, and enforce supportive policies.

We envision public policies and investments that support equity, sustainability, resiliency, and connectivity in the local food system.

We envision state policy that considers the assets and needs of the food system in all issues, including land use, the environment, health care, transportation, housing, income inequality, and others, and that in turn, consider these issues in making food system policy decisions.

The Collaborative's Strategy

The Collaborative believes that state-level policy is essential to systemic change. How the state regulates, invests in, and sets goals for the food system has broad and lasting impact on people, businesses, and the environment. These policies can help to level the playing field for food producers as well as consumers, and can promote equity where long time systemic imbalances have created inequities.

Affecting state policy requires an informed and engaged set of stakeholders, from individuals and businesses, to nonprofit service providers and trade associations, to advocacy organizations, to those in other fields whose work intersects with food system issues. Each has a unique perspective on the food system through which they are aware of and can inform policy. The Collaborative works to support stakeholders’ engagement in policy work by:

  • Providing education about food system issues that highlight the connections between practice and policy;
  • Providing resources and technical assistance about the process of engaging in policy advocacy;
  • Facilitating connections among stakeholders, and between stakeholders and policymakers; 
  • Building the capacity of stakeholders to tell the stories of their work and their communities, to inform the policy-setting process; 
  • Relying on the voices of stakeholders to guide our priorities and projects; and
  • Aggregating the collective interests and power of stakeholders into campaigns for change.

The Collaborative’s staff and leadership also educate policymakers, building their awareness of food system issues and needs.