Urban Food Alliance

United for food

The Urban Food Alliance will bring together Urban food garden programs across the nation of America, uniting them under one brand name.

Tags:
  • cooperative
  • food equality
  • urban farming
  • food deserts
  • alliance

Use Case

Potential

The Urban Food Alliance will create visibility to an often overlooked issue: that there is a significant portion of the American population in urban areas who are without access to healthy, fresh affordable food. The UFA will provide a way for America to promote a sustainable option to produce and distribute food. It would also set a responsible and successful example for other countries to follow. Populations are becoming more concentrated in urban areas, placing even more stress on rural farmlands. The UFA is the answer to the challenge of healthfully feeding people in these growing urban areas.

Business Case

The Urban Food Alliance will materialize as a small headquarters of grant writers, outreach coordinators and financial managers. The grant writers and financial managers will work together to find potential funding opportunities to help support struggling programs, or help with initial costs of programs that are first starting up. The UFA’s main emphasis will on outreach coordinators, who will personally visit the different programs and have an open dialogue with the different program leaders. They will gain contact information as well as create short, educational video-blogs focusing on strategies that are successful for their program.

Objectives:

  1. To connect like minded people.
  2. To create infrastructure in order to support grassroots urban farm movements.
  3. To use brand recognition in order to raise awareness and inspire change.

Team Urban Food Alliance

Ithaca, United States

  • Business / Social Enterprise
  • Rural / Urban
  • North America

Our Team

Like Minded People / Published November 16, 2014 by Peri Gerson

Like Minded People

The most difficult aspect of conceptualizing our project is assessing the challenges involved with creating a national organization. We determined that the best way to be proactive about this is to contact other similarly structured organizations and learn from their experiences. The Delancey Street Foundation is a program that helps ex-convicts and substance abusers re-assimilate into society. The foundation provides housing and jobs to people who have hit rock bottom and require them to adhere to strict regulations that limit poor habits and behavior. This program is very successful, and now has locations all across America. Our team has arranged an interview with the Delancey Street Foundation to discuss the challenges a nationwide program faces and strategies to combat them. 4-H is another example of a widespread organization. It is a youth development program that has chapters all over the world. Each chapter is unique, but the overarching organization is there to provide a common purpose and support. Our next step is to reach out to organizations and programs that fit our project criteria and gauge their interest in joining the Urban Food Alliance.

Invisible Food Deserts / Published November 15, 2014 by Peri Gerson

Invisible Food Deserts

Attending Cornell University has exemplified the fact that many affluent Americans are unaware of the issues regarding local poverty. A main goal of our project is to raise awareness of food deserts, so that we, as a country, can proactively confront this problem. There are currently 6,500 food deserts in America. A food desert is defined by the USDA as "urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food." The USDA also estimates that 23.5 million people live in these food deserts. An urban food desert differs from a rural food desert by the distance necessary to travel to reach a supermarket, or other location for fresh food. An urban food desert uses a mile radius without access to fresh food as an indicator, where as rural food deserts use a 10 mile radius. A major issue for combatting food deserts is that it is exceedingly hard to attract businesses to these low income areas. There may be high crime rates, or not enough of an economic incentive to expand to these impoverished communities. This makes it imperative to address this problem from inside the community, and we plan to do this by creating a brand to promote and support community gardens and food education.

The average middle-class American is oblivious to the issue of food deserts because many of our cities are socio-economically segregated. People of affluence have no incentive to travel into food deserts, and it is difficult to be aware of something that you do not experience yourself. A strategy that the Urban Food Alliance will use to help unveil this problem is to create a brand, like Rainforest Alliance or Fair Trade, that will signal to consumers that they are supporting the fight against hunger. By bringing this problem to the table in a way that is accessible to all Americans the UFA will initiate awareness, support, and concern.

USDA Map of Food / Published November 15, 2014 by Marina Hydeman

USDA Map of Food

http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas/go-to-the-atlas.aspx

The USDA has identified 6500 food deserts in America and published this map.

The plan / Published November 12, 2014 by Elena Cuadros

The plan

Through hard work, lots of collaboration and research we finally came up with an idea!

We realized that there were some incredible programs working towards combatting food deserts in America. Urban gardens provide food for communities, create important educational opportunities, and occupational opportunities as well. These programs often target local youth, including those at risk, teaching them real life job skills such as, networking, retail, professionalism, etc. Furthermore these gardens can help educate locals on healthy eating and participating in a healthy lifestyle.

While many of these types of grassroots organizations are tremendously successful, others struggle to get off the ground. There are inherent obstacles with starting and maintaining such organizations.

We believe that a national alliance will bring these organizations to a whole new level. Through collaboration and networking with other organizations with similar purposes, the alliance will help build a national community of like minded people all working towards the same goal. This alliance will provide a means for support, not only for established members, but also for new grassroots efforts just beginning to form. This alliance will also create a brand which can help establish credibility and help raise awareness about food deserts across America.

Our Mission

Solving world hunger is the ultimate goal, but in order to begin fighting it, we must first start in our own backyard. According to the USDA there are currently over 6,500 food deserts in America. This means that a large portion of the American community does not have access to healthy sustainable food especially produce. We believe that this is an injustice that has gone on for far too long.

Our Background

We are Cornell University seniors in a wide range of majors brought together by our mutual interest in ecologically conscious living. We are interested in a holistic and accessible approach to sustainability. We believe that food is not a one-dimensional issue, but rather an interdisciplinary and multifaceted challenge. Through this project we have decided to focus on food deserts. According to the USDA there are over 6,500 food deserts in the US alone. We believe that everyone should have access to fresh and sustainable food, and that urban gardens are an effective way to provide access while revitalizing communities.

Like Minded People / Published November 16, 2014 by Peri Gerson

Like Minded People

The most difficult aspect of conceptualizing our project is assessing the challenges involved with creating a national organization. We determined that the best way to be proactive about this is to contact other similarly structured organizations and learn from their experiences. The Delancey Street Foundation is a program that helps ex-convicts and substance abusers re-assimilate into society. The foundation provides housing and jobs to people who have hit rock bottom and require them to adhere to strict regulations that limit poor habits and behavior. This program is very successful, and now has locations all across America. Our team has arranged an interview with the Delancey Street Foundation to discuss the challenges a nationwide program faces and strategies to combat them. 4-H is another example of a widespread organization. It is a youth development program that has chapters all over the world. Each chapter is unique, but the overarching organization is there to provide a common purpose and support. Our next step is to reach out to organizations and programs that fit our project criteria and gauge their interest in joining the Urban Food Alliance.

Invisible Food Deserts / Published November 15, 2014 by Peri Gerson

Invisible Food Deserts

Attending Cornell University has exemplified the fact that many affluent Americans are unaware of the issues regarding local poverty. A main goal of our project is to raise awareness of food deserts, so that we, as a country, can proactively confront this problem. There are currently 6,500 food deserts in America. A food desert is defined by the USDA as "urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food." The USDA also estimates that 23.5 million people live in these food deserts. An urban food desert differs from a rural food desert by the distance necessary to travel to reach a supermarket, or other location for fresh food. An urban food desert uses a mile radius without access to fresh food as an indicator, where as rural food deserts use a 10 mile radius. A major issue for combatting food deserts is that it is exceedingly hard to attract businesses to these low income areas. There may be high crime rates, or not enough of an economic incentive to expand to these impoverished communities. This makes it imperative to address this problem from inside the community, and we plan to do this by creating a brand to promote and support community gardens and food education.

The average middle-class American is oblivious to the issue of food deserts because many of our cities are socio-economically segregated. People of affluence have no incentive to travel into food deserts, and it is difficult to be aware of something that you do not experience yourself. A strategy that the Urban Food Alliance will use to help unveil this problem is to create a brand, like Rainforest Alliance or Fair Trade, that will signal to consumers that they are supporting the fight against hunger. By bringing this problem to the table in a way that is accessible to all Americans the UFA will initiate awareness, support, and concern.

USDA Map of Food / Published November 15, 2014 by Marina Hydeman

USDA Map of Food

http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas/go-to-the-atlas.aspx

The USDA has identified 6500 food deserts in America and published this map.

The plan / Published November 12, 2014 by Elena Cuadros

The plan

Through hard work, lots of collaboration and research we finally came up with an idea!

We realized that there were some incredible programs working towards combatting food deserts in America. Urban gardens provide food for communities, create important educational opportunities, and occupational opportunities as well. These programs often target local youth, including those at risk, teaching them real life job skills such as, networking, retail, professionalism, etc. Furthermore these gardens can help educate locals on healthy eating and participating in a healthy lifestyle.

While many of these types of grassroots organizations are tremendously successful, others struggle to get off the ground. There are inherent obstacles with starting and maintaining such organizations.

We believe that a national alliance will bring these organizations to a whole new level. Through collaboration and networking with other organizations with similar purposes, the alliance will help build a national community of like minded people all working towards the same goal. This alliance will provide a means for support, not only for established members, but also for new grassroots efforts just beginning to form. This alliance will also create a brand which can help establish credibility and help raise awareness about food deserts across America.

Our Team

Our Mission

Solving world hunger is the ultimate goal, but in order to begin fighting it, we must first start in our own backyard. According to the USDA there are ...Read More

Our Background

We are Cornell University seniors in a wide range of majors brought together by our mutual interest in ecologically conscious living. We are interested in a holistic and ...Read More

The information contained here represents student project ideas developed as the result of brainstorming activities during Round 1 of the TFF Challenge. It does not represent any final business plans or commercial products.