Six years ago the Osprey Foundation began making grants and forming partnerships with the goal of increasing access to Good Food in the United States, specifically in underserved communities. When we first began our work in this space we relied heavily on our partners and grantees to define what Good Food really meant. We were quick to realize that the concept meant different things to different people, and even when there was alignment on definition, there could be very different priorities within that definition. Last year, when working with our partners at Arabella Advisors to craft a new strategy to guide our work in this space, we developed our own definition.
In priority order, to us Good Food is…
Affordable – The concept is simple, but also the single most important attribute of Good Food. If the consumer cannot afford it then the model or program cannot succeed.
Sustainable – We view sustainability in two different ways in our food work, in both the traditional “green” sense and in the prospects for long-term viability. It is vital that the ecological impact on the land and environment be minimized in the production and delivery of food. As importantly, there needs to be a clear pathway towards systems change that has staying power well beyond our engagement with the organization or program.
Fair – A true Good Food supply chain is one in which no individual or group is exploited.
Local – We view local food as the ideal, but recognize that it is not always possible or, in some cases, the best answer. We also have a flexible view of what local means in different areas of our work. Local can be hyper-local, regional, or even simply domestic.
We are not calling for a universal acceptance of any one definition of Good Food, but this is what we mean when we talk about it, evaluate programs or organizations, and make decisions about how we tackle the hard work of changing our food system through advocacy.