Past CFF Events

Below is a list of past events sponsored or co-sponsored by Community Food Funders.


Seeding Power: Leadership for Justice-Based Movements in Food and Farming

Surdna Foundation, December 4, 2018

On December 4th, CFF partnered with Philanthropy New York, Sustainable Agriculture and Food System Funders, and Surdna Foundation to host a briefing on three new leadership development programs in the food and farming sector. Navina Khanna, Director of the HEAL Food Alliance, spoke about their School of Political Leadership that supports 10 food and farm justice leaders with the tools, knowledge, and skills they need to run for office, work on campaigns, and drive political change. Next, Farzana Serang, Executive Director of the Castanea Fellowship, described how Castanea will provide a diverse cohort of leaders with the time, space, and resources they need to connect and innovate on long-term solutions that can foster vibrant communities and the creation of a more equitable, sustainable, and healthy food system. Lastly, Adam Liebowitz, Director of Community Food Funders, outlined the new Seeding Power Fellowship for experienced food justice leaders working across sectors to build equitable food systems in New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Long Island. Read more…

Food Certification Programs for Farmworker Justice

North Star Fund, November 1, 2018

On November 1st, CFF partnered with The Marcus Foundation and SAFSF to host a briefing about the living and working conditions faced by most farmworkers in the US, and food certification programs that are trying to address and ameliorate these issues. Jessica Culley described the work of the Farmworkers Support Committee (CATA), a grassroots member-led organization. CATA was also a founding member of the Agricultural Justice Project that issues the “Food Justice Certified” label. Peter O’Driscoll talked about the Equitable Food Initiative and all it has accomplished in the past five years with its “Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured” label that comes only as the result of multi-stakeholder engagement and agreements across the supply chain. And Michael Rozyne talked about his years in the farming and food distribution business with Red Tomato, what it will take to maintain farms in our region, and a pilot project he is engaging in with EFI in Connecticut to explore the model on smaller farms. Read more…

Pesticides in Parade: How Hawaiian Communities Took on the Chemical Industry and Won

North Star Fund, July 12, 2018

CFF partnered with food justice advocate, author, and funder Anna Lappé, to host a briefing about how Hawaiʻi is leading the way in both resisting the agrochemical industry and envisioning a food future rooted in indigenous wisdom and aloha ʻāina (love for the land), including the country’s first statewide ban on the pesticide chlorpyrifos. Dr. Virginia Rauh presented her research on chlorpyrifos and its public health impacts, and community activist Malia Chun spoke about her community’s personal history with the pesticide industry, and how that narrative fits in to the larger history of Hawaii post-contact with Western colonialists. Anna Frederick, Executive Director of Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA), then detailed the community organizing and statewide campaign that resulted in the chlorpyrifos ban. Read more…

Unpacking Nutrition Education: Why it Matters for NYC Students

Philanthropy New York, June 25, 2018

CFF partnered with Philanthropy New York to host a briefing on the myriad ways nutrition education is addressed and offered in NYC schools, and significant value that these bring to a student’s physical, academic, and future well-being. Pamela Koch of the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy presented findings from recently concluded reports, and was joined on the panel by Kelly Giordano of Newman’s Own Foundation and Tony Hillery of Harlem Grown. The panel was moderated by Bronwyn Starr of the New York State Health Foundation. Read more…

CFF 6th Annual Gathering

Project Farmhouse, June 7, 2018

Over 50 CFF members gathered at Project Farmhouse for the 6th CFF Annual Gathering. Delicious Puerto Rican food was supplied by Liberation Cuisine, with drinks sponsored by Port Morris Distillery and Bronx Beer Hall. The evening featured a presentation by East New York Farms, our 2018 CFF Champions Award recipient, and a keynote panel on food system issues in Puerto Rico with frontline activists from the island. Read more…

Funding A Racially Just Food System

North Star Fund, May 16, 2018

CFF partnered with Soul Fire Farm and Philanthropy New York’s Committee for Equitable and Inclusive Philanthropy to host a workshop on funding with a historical racial justice lens. Leah Penniman, Co-Director of Soul Fire Farm, and Amani Olugbala, Assistant Director of Programs, guided over 30 funders through a history of racism and resistance in the food system followed by a workshop to help identify concrete next steps. This event was the 2017 CFF Champions Award briefing, designed and created by our 2017 Award recipient, Soul Fire Farm. The US agricultural system and therefore the entire national economy was established on a foundation of stolen labor working stolen lands. And the impacts, oppression, and inequitable outcomes derived from that starting point are still felt, and in many cases still perpetuated, even today. Read more…

Northeast Food Movement Organizing

North Star Fund, February 1, 2018

CFF partnered with Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF) to host an event about about new initiatives and opportunities to engage the leaders of state agriculture departments and help build a regional coalition of non-profits at the same time. Virginia Clarke of SAFSF explained her organization’s history of such engagements and why she launched this national effort five years ago, and Tracy Lerman of the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) detailed the benefits she sees for our region and why NESAWG has stepped up to lead the charge. Read more…


Big Hunger

New York State Health Foundation, October 4, 2017

CFF partnered with WhyHunger and the New York State Health Foundation to host a briefing about Andy Fisher’s new book.  Big Hunger The Unholy Alliance Between Corporate America And Anti-Hunger Groups. Following a presentation about his research and findings, Andy was joined on a panel by Liz Schalet of Bed Stuy Campaign Against Hunger and filmmaker Lori Silverbush. The panel was moderated by Alison Cohen of WhyHunger. Read more…

Food Distribution and Infrastructure in the South Bronx

South Bronx, September 13, 2017

CFF and Philanthropy New York hosted a day-long Food Distribution and Infrastructure Tour to learn about some of the current and future food distribution systems utilized in NYC, as well as other infrastructure projects and small-scale supply chain models. Thirty-five funders attended the bus tour that included five stops and seven organizations working in the Hunts Point and Bronx River sections of the South Bronx. Read more…

CFF 5th Annual Gathering

Project Farmhouse, June 1, 2017

Over 60 CFF members got together with some of our partners in the field and the public sector at Project Farmhouse for the 5th CFF Annual Gathering. Delicious drinks and appetizers were supplied by Cleaver Co. while people mingled and discussed their work.  The evening featured a presentation by Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm, our inaugural CFF Champions Award recipient, and a keynote by Frances Moore Lappé. Read more…

Partners in Health: Community Food Programs and Hospital Partnerships in NY

New York Academy of Medicine, May 15, 2017

CFF partnered with The New York Academy of Medicine  to host a full-day forum.  Hospitals and health systems, along with community-based organizations that are working to address food as a determinant of health across the state, were brought together to share information, network, and explore new partnerships. A call was made for institutional actors like community-based organizations, hospitals, government, and philanthropy to work together to create lasting impact on community health and promote health equity. Read more…


Food as a Community-Building Tool

Philanthropy New York, December 8, 2016

CFF partnered with Philanthropy New York to host a briefing on food as a community-building tool. Rick Luftglass (Executive Director, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund) moderated a panel comprised of Ben Thomases (Executive Director, Queens Community House), Robin Burger (Interim Executive Director, Just Food), and Nicholas Freudenberg (Director, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute), followed by a robust discussion. Read more…

Urban Agriculture & Social Justice Activism

North Star Fund, October 5th, 2016

CFF hosted a wine and cheese reception to celebrate the launch of a new book, Beyond the Kale: Urban Agriculture and Social Justice Activism in New York City by Kristin Reynolds and Nevin Cohen. Funders and urban ag practitioners mingled over local NY wine and then the authors presented the book’s key findings to the audience, followed by a Q&A including remarks from some of the book’s interviewees. Read more…

Growing the Farm to Institution Movement: From Farm to Plate

NYS Health Foundation, September 29, 2016

CFF partnered with the New York State Health Foundation and Philanthropy New York to host a briefing about the local farm to institution movement. The Farm To Institution New York State (FINYS) network opened with a presentation about the benefits and obstacles of bringing local food to institutions, and then the executive chef from Lenox Hill Neighborhood House presented about her work transforming the settlement house’s meals to be more local and in season. Lenox Hill now offers a technical assistance program free to other meal providers to help them make a similar transition with their menus. Read more…

GreenWave & Restorative Ocean Farming

North Star Fund, September 22, 2016

CFF partnered with the Hunter Grubb Foundation to host a briefing on an emerging new organization called GreenWave.  GreenWave’s mission is to support and train new and beginning restorative ocean farmers, and provide infrastructure to support the emerging blue-green economy. Beginning farmers learn the basics of 3D ocean farming, a innovative new model designed to restore ocean ecosystems, mitigate climate change, and create blue-green jobs for unemployed fishers — all while providing healthy, local food for communities. Read more…

Communities in Action: A South Bronx Learning Tour

South Bronx, August 4, 2016

CFF and Philanthropy New York hosted a day-long tour of the South Bronx to highlight people and organizations using food as a vehicle to bring people together and catalyze change in their neighborhoods.Twenty-five funders participated in the bus tour that included six stops and nine organizations across the South Bronx. Working on issues such as restorative justice, female empowerment, youth development, economic development, health and nutrition, and more, these groups were growing food, cooking meals, working with bodegas, running farmers’ markets, and creating buying clubs to achieve their goals. Read more…

CFF 4th Annual Gathering

COLORS Restaurant, June 15, 2016

Over 50 CFF members and some of our partners in the field and the public sector got together at COLORS Restaurant for the 4th CFF Annual Gathering. Delicious drinks and appetizers were supplied by COLORS staff while people mingled and discussed their work. The evening featured a conversation with Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, about the origins of his no tipping “hospitality included” policy, and how it has played out in his restaurants. Read more…

Food+Enterprise 2016

Pfizer Building, April 8-9, 2016

CFF was proud to once again co-sponsor the annual Food+Enterprise Summit presented by Slow Money NYC, connecting investors and entrepreneurs with the goal of financing a better food system. This year’s theme was  Finding Food Value: Balancing Purpose + Profit, a fundamental challenge faced by responsible businesses and impact investors alike. Like-minded entrepreneurs, investors, farmers, consultants, and others came together to build a community dedicated to a business approach and investment philosophy respecting profitability alongside people, place, and planet. Read more…

A Conversation with NYC’s Food Policy Director

Philanthropy New York, March 24, 2016

CFF partnered with Philanthropy New York to host Barbara Turk, NYC Director of Food Policy, for a conversation about food policy in New York City and the Administration’s current efforts.  Topics included the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact and NYC’s role in its development, the inclusion of food in the OneNYC Plan, and the 2015 NYC Food Metrics Report. There was also a robust hour-long Q&A with the audience.  Read more…


Analyzing Our Food Funding Landscape

Foundation Center, December 7, 2015

CFF partnered with Foundation Center to host an in-person meeting and attended by over 20 funders.  Focusing primarily on Foundation Maps, Foundation Center staff led a demo of different platforms and resources available to find out who is funding what and where as it relates to our regional food landscape.  Read more…

New Jersey Food & Environment Funders Gathering

Victoria Foundation, November 10, 2015

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 in which we heard from Kendrya Close of the Foodshed Alliance, Elizabeth Reynoso who was the former food policy director of the city of Newark, and Hugh Hogan, Executive Director of North Star Fund and co-founder of Community Food Funders. Read more…

Food Impact Investing for Philanthropy

Surdna Foundation, October 5, 2015

The Finance & Investment Working Group of CFF partnered with Slow Money NYC to host a meeting on impact investing in the food space.  Starting with the basic question of what is impact investing, and from there looking at food investing and how philanthropy can get involved, participants were given the nuts and bolts of mission investing from people who know it best.  The presentation included case studies from two CFF members who recently completed Program Related Investments in food. Read more…

Routes to Roots: A Food System Tour

NY Foodshed, September 27, 2015

CFF partnered with the Environmental Grantmakers Assocation to lead a food system tour of the NY region that retraced the food system, from consumer to distributor to producer. The tour started at the Red Hook Initiative in Brooklyn, where we heard about local clean-up efforts after Hurricane Sandy and how a community space was turned into a kitchen to feed neighbors without power, as well as about Rockaway Wildfire and their post-Sandy redevelopment work. From there we vistited Greenmarket Co’s current food warehouse in the Bronx, and drove through the nation’s largest food distribution center before stopping at the site of a proposed new regional food hub facility. Our final stop brought us up the Hudson River Valley, an area  heavily impacted by Hurricane Irene in 2011, to learn about the Chester Agricultural Center and hear from  local farming innovators in the “black dirt” region.  Read more…

Newark Urban Agriculture Tour

Newark NJ, July 30, 2015

The Urban Agriculture Working Group of CFF partnered with the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers to host a day-long tour of urban agriculture sites in Newark, NJ.  25 funders participated in the bus tour visiting the gardens and farms of Greater Newark Conservancy and Ironbound Community Corporation, and hearing from AeroFarms who is building their global corporate headquarters and the world’s largest indoor vertical farm in Newark.  A lunch time presentation by a Newark-based master gardener discussed the work of the many other urban ag sites in the area, and was followed by a presentation by Dr. Hanaa Hamdi, Director of the Newark’s Department of Health and Wellness.  Read more…

Creating A Regional Food Hub in NYC

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, July 22, 2015

GrowNYC shared their proposal for a regional food hub that would be located in the food distribution center in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx.  This large-scale facility would provide a home for Greenmarket Co., a non-profit entity created by GrowNYC that aggregates and distributes wholesale quantities of locally-grown food and delivers it around the city.  In addition, this facility would have space for an expanded wholesale farmers market, a light food processing center to prepare local produce for wholesale, and other infrastructure to support local food businesses. Read more…

Food System Resiliency in the Face of Climate Change

North Star Fund, June 8, 2015

Two years after our original breakfast series on risk and resiliency in the food system after Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, CFF reconvened our panelists from that series along with other experts.  This group assembled in the morning to compile the lessons learned from that original series, hear updates on work that has taken place in the interim, and together decide what it would mean to seriously address the issues that were raised.  In the afternoon, they reported their findings as part of a funder briefing.  Read more…

Connecticut Food Funders Convening

Hartford College, May 28, 2015

CFF continued to convene funders active in food philanthropy in Connecticut by using the structure of the Connecticut Food Systems Alliance (CFSA) gatherings. Every CFSA gathering leaves space for ‘sub-network’ breakout conversations, and so funders have agreed to convene during that time to share information and resources.  Read more…

CFF 3rd Annual Gathering

COLORS Restaurant, May 6, 2015

CFF’s Annual Gathering featured a keynote presentation by Ricardo Salvador, a former funder at the Kellogg Foundation and currently the Director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Ricardo focused his talk on the underlying systemic issues of racism and oppression that are at the core of the problems we must address plaguing our food system. His talk was followed by breakout conversations organized by the five working groups of CFF.  Read more…

Approaches to Farmland Preservation in the Northeast

Woodcock Foundation, April 29, 2015

CFF member Woodcock Foundation organized this briefing as the next offering from the Farmland Access and Preservation Working Group of CFF, as a follow-up to its kickoff meeting in November.  Steve Rosenberg provided context for the issue in our region as he explained his work with as Executive Director of the Scenic Hudson Land Trust.  Bob Bernstein and his team at Northeast Farm Access then discussed their efforts with the Chester Agricultural Center which is preserving 200 acres of black dirt farmland, and Jim Oldham presented his work at Equity Trust, specifically the Hudson Valley Farm Affordability Fund.  Read more…

NY Funders Alliance Webinar

Online, April 20, 2015

CFF presented about its work to a group of twenty funders from around New York as part ofthe NY Funders Alliance monthly webinars.  The presentation included an overview of CFF and regional food funder organizing, as well as a discussion on the current state of food philanthropy.  Read more…

NYCHA Goes Green: Urban Ag & Workforce Development

City Hall, April 15, 2015

Organized by the Urban Agriculture Working Group of CFF and sponsored by NYCHA and the Mayor’s Office for Strategic Partnerships, this funder briefing detailed a previously unannounced urban farming initiative as part of the larger Building Healthy Communities Initiative.  Modeled after the successful pilot program at Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn, five new farms will be built on NYCHA property in the next three years.  Read more…

What’s On The Plate Of NYC’s Food Workers?

Philanthropy New York, March 23, 2015

The Food Chain Workers Working Group of CFF co-sponsored this panel discussion examining internal mobility and career patterns in the restaurant industry.  Panelists included Saru Jayaraman (ROC United), Maureen Conway (The Aspen Institute), and Jessamyn Rodriguez (Hot Bread Kitchen), and was moderated by Laine Romero-Alston (Ford Foundation).  The conversation centered around a “raising the floor and building ladders” approach to workforce development, and highlighted a recent report from the mayor’s Jobs For New Yorkers Task Force.

Food Systems & Movements: What’s race got to do with it?

Philanthropy New York, March 16, 2015

CFF invited Eric Holt-Giménez, Executive Director of Food First, to host a presentation and discussion on the global food system, food movements, and the role that race plays in each. Eric presented to a room of 26 funders and partners about the magnitude of the work ahead in reshaping our globalized corporate food system. He then led everyone through an analysis of the food justice and food sovereignty movements, and challenged those present to consider the role that racism plays in weakening alliances and thwarting the growth of a larger more powerful movement.  Read more…

Food And Philanthropy Panel

Teachers College, March 15, 2015

CFF steering committee members hosted a panel discussion as part of the 2015 Just Food Conference. The panel included Bob Dandrew (Local Economies Project of the New World Foundation), Barbara Greenberg (Levitt Foundation), and Rick Luftglass (Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund) and was moderated by CFF coordinator Adam Liebowitz (North Star Fund). Panelists answered questions about their grantmaking strategies and vision, and offered opinions about their view of the food movement in our region.

Food+Enterprise 2015

Industry City, February 27 – March 1, 2015

Having grown into a 3-day summit this year, Food+Enterprise was once again sponsored by the Food Hubs, Finance, and Investment Working Group of CFF. Countless connections (both business and personal) were forged; a community among like-minded entrepreneurs, investors, farmers, consultants, and others was created; and, thoughtfulness and inspiration was fostered among this new community of “shareholders.” 618 tickets were sold with an average attendance of around 300 on each day!

Connecticut Food Funders Convening

University of St. Joseph, February 17, 2015

CFF, together with the CT Council for Philanthropy, convened fourteen funders active in food philanthropy in Connecticut to come together as part of a larger Connecticut Food Systems Alliance (CFSA) meeting. Participants learned about each other’s’ work in the field, heard a presentation about CFF, and discussed some current opportunities for continued networking and collaboration. This group will continue to meet at future CFSA gatherings.  Read more…

Procurement Policy and Worker Safety

Ford Foundation, January 8, 2015

The Food Chain Workers Working Group of CFF partnered with the Labor and Community Partnerships Working Group of Neighborhood Funders Group to host a roundtable discussion.  Funders, food chain worker organizers, and school food advocates met to hear an overview of the Good Food Purchasing Program in Los Angeles and specifically the protections it has in place for workers.  Participants then discussed what a comparable program could look like in NYC.


400M Acres: Land Access, Ownership, and Stewardship

Surdna Foundation, November 21, 2014

CFF member Fleming Family Foundation organized this briefing in an effort to launch a new Farmland Access and Preservation Working Group of CFF.   Professor Eric Freyfogle laid the foundation for the meeting with a history of land rights and ownership, and Jean Willoughby presented her work as the Project Director of the Agricultural Reinvestment Fund at Rural Advancement Foundation International.  Severine von Tscharner Fleming then explained the work that lay ahead as over 400M acres of farmland is set to change hands in the coming years due to farmers retiring.    Read more…

Food Waste Funder Briefing

North Star Fund, November 10, 2014

CFF members GRACE Communications Foundation and the Betsy and Jesse Fink Foundation partnered to host this introductory briefing on food waste issues in the US.  Sarah Vared (Betsy and Jesse Fink Foundation) opened with an overview of problem, and then Chris Hunt (GRACE Communications Foundation) detailed some of the recent work they are funding on the topic.  We then heard from Tristram Stuart, founder of Feedback and creator of Feeding The 5,000 events worldwide, who detailed his experiences on the ground before opening up to questions from participants.  Read more…

A New Food Economy: What Do We Mean?

Philanthropy New York, October 30, 2014

North Star Fund and Community Food Funders partnered with Philanthropy New York to host a workshop on food as part of their series, Can Philanthropy Help Shape the Next Economy? A Workshop Series for a Just Transition.  Our workshop discussed the Triple Bottom Line, of sound ecological thinking, social and racial equity, and sustainable economic business models, and featured examples of each from a panel of leading professionals in the field.  Panelists included Nelson Carrasquillo (CATA), Dennis Derryck (Corbin Hill Food Project), Ann Karlen (Fair Food Philly), and Brian Snyder (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture), and was moderated by Hugh Hogan (North Star Fund).  Read more…

Urban Ag with NYCHA & DEP

North Star Fund, July 24, 2014

Members of the Urban Agriculture Working Group of CFF met with representatives from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection and the NYC Housing Authority to discuss ways of scaling up urban agriculture in New York City. We discussed the NYCDEP Green Infrastructure program, which includes a grants program that has distributed over $11million in its first three cycles, as well as NYCHA’s plans to create five new urban ag sites on its properties.

Feeding NY Report Release

The Murphy Institute, June 24, 2014

Brandworkers and the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center released their new report, Feeding New York: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers in New York City’s Food Manufacturing Industry, and held a policy briefing around the reports main findings and themes.  The event was co-sponsored by the Food Chain Workers Working Group of CFF, along with other partners.  Read more…

CFF 2nd Annual Gathering

Roosevelt House at Hunter College, May 8, 2014

CFF’s Annual Gathering featured an interview of New York Times bestselling author Tracie McMillan by renowned radio personality Leonard Lopate. Tracie mostly discussed her book, The American Way Of Eating, an investigative journalism and undercover reporting account of issues of race and class in the food system. Approximately 50 funders from the region attended, along with 8 practitioners specially invited by CFF’s working groups.  Read more…

Food + Enterprise 2014

Food Book Fair at the Whythe Hotel, April 25, 2014

This day-long event, hosted by Slow Money NYC, was co-sponsored by the Food Hubs, Finance, and Investment Working Group of CFF. Program details included an entrepreneur clinic, foodshed funders lunch, panel discussion, and pitch competition.

Food Chains Funder Briefing

North Star Fund, April 24, 2014

At this briefing, hosted by the Food Chain Workers Working Group, attendees heard from people involved with film Food Chains, a movie having its US premier the following weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival and set for national distribution in the fall. Sanjay Rawal, the film’s director, was joined by the film’s producer, two members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and the director of the Fair Food Standards Council. This meeting included practitioners working on labor issues in addition to CFF funders.  Read more…

Program Related Investment Presentation

North Star Fund, March 10, 2014

At this meeting, Farm To Table Co-packers (FTC) presented to staff and board members of CFF Steering Committee Foundations. These foundations are considering a PRI in the food system, and invited FTC to present as a potential recipient.

Beyond The Kale Funder Briefing

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, February 11, 2014

At this briefing hosted by the Urban Agriculture Working Group of CFF, attendees learned about new research soon to be released in the book Beyond the Kale: Urban Agriculture and Social Justice Activism in New York City, by Kristin Reynolds and Nevin Cohen, from the New School. A facilitated conversation between funders in the room and invited practitioners from the field followed prepared remarks by the authors. The topic centered around how urban agriculture contributes to the creation of just and sustainable cities, and what philanthropy’s role could and should be moving forward. Practitioners in attendance included Maggie Cheney (EcoStation:NY & Bushwick Campus Farm), Tanya Fields (The BLK ProjeK), Yonnette Fleming (Hattie Carthan Community Garden), and Karen Washington (La Familia Verde Community Garden Coalition and Resource Center, & Black Urban Growers).  Read more…

Read about events that happened prior to 2014 here.