Photo courtesy of Fresh Future Farm. Katharine McLaughlin Share Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email In partnership with the Equitable Food Oriented Development Collaborative, The Kresge Foundation has awarded $6.1 million in grant funding to advance Equitable Food Oriented Development efforts in cities across the country. This investment is in addition to a combined $2 million in grants Kresge awarded in 2020 and 2021 through the partnership with the Collaborative. Equitable Food Oriented Development, or EFOD, is a community-anchored development strategy centering Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) food and agriculture projects and enterprises as vehicles for shared power, cultural expression and community asset building. The EFOD framework is centered on equity and justice. Activities are community-driven and leverage food and agricultural development to create economic opportunities, healthy neighborhoods and explicitly seeks to build community assets, pride and power by and with historically marginalized communities. In addition to leading with equity and justice, there is an intentional focus on building community power and working towards community ownership. “While food is a crucial component, the work is about so much more than that,” Health Program Managing Director Monica Valdes Lupi said. “What’s distinct about EFOD is that while conventional food systems work may unintentionally cause harm to communities through gentrification, displacement, or extraction of local resources, EFOD instead fosters strong social capital networks, equitable asset development, increased civic engagement and decreased displacement.” A key component of the Collaborative’s work is the EFOD Fund. A prototype financing mechanism, the EFOD Fund is modeling an alternative form of finance for community-led, justice-first, food-based community economic development that prioritizes the expertise of BIPOC practitioner-leaders as designers and decision-makers. “Black, Indigenous and other communities of color around the country are creating new infrastructure and community assets to defend themselves and their food systems. They are working on all kinds of enterprises, connecting value chains, celebrating traditions and delicious food cultures, and protecting their communities from blight and exploitation and disappearance,” Trisha Chakrabarti, EFOD national organizer, said. “The EFOD Collaborative was created by practitioners to support our communities and the leaders building, visioning and creating in the midst of disinvestment and resource extraction. This partnership with Kresge means we can support even more incredible peers around the country and paint a picture of what’s possible when community is truly trusted.” “Thanks to a grant from EFOD, we offered 20 weeks of value-added meals in 2022. During those weeks, we prepared approximately 30 dishes per week that included culturally relevant breakfast, lunch and dinner options, herbal beverages and elderberry syrup all of which was well received. Crops from Morning Glory Homestead, Fields Farm and our own urban farm meshed with as many organic ingredients as we could find to create anti-inflammatory versions of recipes from our self-published cookbook, Cookin’ Jones,” Germaine Jenkins, co-founder of Fresh Future Farm, said. Over the next three years, Kresge’s grant funding will support: Infrastructure: DAISA Enterprises will staff and facilitate the Collaborative by providing management, policy, technical assistance and communications support. Re-granting: Community Services Unlimited will support the EFOD practitioner-led Steering Committee, provide additional coaching for the EFOD Fund, manage convenings, and continue to grow the number of technical assistance advisers from communities of color. Fund management: Community Credit Lab will oversee the EFOD Fund and will serve as an important legal and lending partner on innovative, equity-driven investments. Field Building: Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders and the Duke World Policy Center will continue to play a critical role in supporting policy-related work. To learn more about Equitable Food Oriented Development, visit www.efod.org.