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The Wallace Center at Winrock International Releases Report: Innovations in Local Food Enterprise: Fresh Ideas for a Just and Profitable Food System


Innovations in Local Food Enterprise: Fresh Ideas for a Just and Profitable Food System addresses one of the most complex issues facing food access and regional food system development allies today: how can consumer price and producer cost meet in ways that transition healthy, local food from a privilege to a right?  Innovations in Local Food Enterprise analyses and aggregates a collection of innovative solutions to overcoming difficult food access and food equity issues with a focus on market-based consumer-driven solutions for low-income underserved communities.

The report is based on learning from our Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development (HUFED) Center and from the work of others who are creating and implementing market-based and non-market-based food access solutions in a very hands-on, practical way.  Our hope is that this report will inform, inspire, and prepare readers to innovate in their own communities and for those in decision making roles, to have this knowledge in mind as they envision and develop programs. Key findings include:

  • Food access solutions need to reach beyond physical access to healthy food (e.g., distance to store or food pantry) to address social, environmental, cultural, and other factors.
  • The role of business or market-based solutions needs to be maximized.  These market-based solutions appear to be more sustainable and offer more opportunity to low-income communities by supporting them in both entrepreneurial thinking and healthy eating.
  • There are four main areas of innovation that support a market-based approach: 1) innovations in affordability and profitability; 2) innovations in infrastructure and logistics; 3) innovations in community engagement; and 4) innovations in marketing.  Each innovations section in the report includes a synthesis of trends and introduces two outstanding enterprises through directed case studies.
  • Enterprises working in this field integrate innovations from two, three, or all four of the main areas of innovation, in an effort to make healthy food affordable, attractive and accessible.    

View the report here.


Overview of the Wallace HUFED Center


The Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development (HUFED) Center, managed by the Wallace Center at Winrock International, supports and enables greater access to healthy affordable food in limited resource and historically excluded and/or traditionally underserved communities across the country. The Center provides grants and technical assistance to support enterprise development and business-based approaches to getting more healthy food into communities which have limited access, with an emphasis on sourcing locally and regionally produced food. HUFED is unique because it is focused on developing solutions that create jobs, offer economic incentives to farmers, and that can be all or partially self-sustaining beyond the grant period. The Center, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, proudly supports 30 awards totaling over $885,000.  The 30 grantees span a wide range of approaches, business strategies, and geographic areas. 

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“The HUFED program has proved to be invaluable in LA CAUSA's efforts to create a community-based approach to addressing issues around food access,” says Robert Zardeneta, Executive Director of LA CAUSA, a 2010 HUFED grantee that is working on a “market makeover” called PALOMA, which aims to increase the availability of fresh, locally grown produce in East Los Angeles corner stores.



The Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development Center is important to USDA’s efforts to increase access to healthy and affordable food, including locally produced foods.  According to Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, “We’re proud of the work being carried out by our partners like the Wallace Center and many other organizations in both urban and rural communities.  These investments in healthy food access are creating jobs while contributing to healthy communities.”   



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NGFN Webinar Recordings Available Online

If You Build It…. Will They Come? Consumer Behavior Concepts for Effective Marketing of Healthy Food
The National Good Food Network’s (NGFN) October webinar explored, at an introductory level, how one may adapt what we know about traditional marketing and consumer behavior to create positive social change to not only increase healthy food access, but also increase the purchase and consumption of healthy food. How people live, the constraints they live with, and how they shop are all important factors in creating an effective healthy food marketplace that considers what products should be marketed, at what price, and to which specific consumers. Over 400 people from across the U.S. attended the webinar. The webinar panel included a food marketing professor, Wallace HUFED staff, and a HUFED grantee from Centro del Obrero Fronterizo, based in El Paso, Texas. The webinar recording is available here.

Market-Based Models for Increasing Access to Healthy Food: Defining What Works
The Wallace Center is compiling learning from working with thirty food enterprises from across the country that are focused on food access. These enterprises are part of Wallace Center’s Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development (HUFED) program. In this November webinar, program leaders shared key highlights and takeaways resulting from this program, their expertise, and additional research results. Presenters shared many examples of innovative and effective strategies for moving food along the supply chain and helping consumers to ultimately purchase and consume healthy food. The webinar focus was on the elements of success and innovative strategies that are bringing businesses and products to scale to reach wider markets, that may help you develop your own innovations. The webinar recording is available here.