Recap: NJ Food & Environment Funders Gathering

Hugh presenting to NJ funders

On November 10th, CFF partnered with the Environmental Affinity Group of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers to host a gathering of NJ-based funders interested in food and the environment. 20 funders participated in the meeting that is briefly outlined below.

Kendrya Close, Executive Director of Foodshed Alliance, started the meeting off with an overview of her organization’s work that provided an overview of what is meant by food systems work and a regional foodshed.  The Foodshed Alliance is a 15-year old organization working to shift New Jersey’s food and farming system towards significantly increased production and consumption of locally grown, locally produced, and locally sourced foods. Kendrya highlighted that while NJ has 29% of available agricultural land conserved (#1 in the US), it is rated #39 on the 2015 Locavore Index, which ranks the 50 states and DC in terms of their commitment to healthy local food. Kendrya also announced the Foodshed Alliance’s recently completed Regional Foodshed Resiliency Plan for northern NJ.
View Kendrya’s presentation here.

Elizabeth Reynoso, the former Food Policy Director of Newark, then spoke of her efforts while in city government to take a cross-sector approach to improving the lives of underserved urban communities, including food and health issues.  She touted the Neark Sustainability Action Plan that includes urban farming and gardening, stormwater management, creating markets in the city, food recovery and diverting food from landfills to food distribution sites and composting.
View Elizabeth’s presentation here.

Hugh Hogan, Executive Director of North Star Fund and co-founder of Community Food Funders then presented about CFF and our efforts to organize philanthropy across the region.  He discussed the successes and challenges from the first 4 years of CFF, and placed our network in a context of many regional food funder networks across the nation.
View Hugh’s presentation here.

During the discussion over lunch, one participant mentioned the online NJ Municipal Asset Profiler that includes an Agriculture Preservation Toolkit.

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