We are farmers, parents, students, persons of faith, community gardeners, and health advocates united by the idea that all members of our community should have access to food grown in a way that promotes the health of people, planet and community.
Community Food Advocates is a new organization with a rich history and a big mission: to end hunger by creating a healthy, just, and sustainable food system. We were formed in December 2009 through the merger of Manna, a 35-year old organization dedicated to addressing the root causes of hunger and poverty, and Food Security Partners of Middle Tennessee, established in 2007 with a mission of ensuring that everyone has access to healthy, affordable food from a just and sustainable food system.
Community Food Advocates, including its predecessor entities, has a history of successful policy and program efforts aimed at ending hunger and increasing access to healthy, affordable food. Our accomplishments include:
- Starting the Nashville Food Policy Council, a collective effort to increase awareness of food security issues and to support a sustainable food system
- Consulting with 7 Nashville area Farmers’ Markets to bring SNAP (food stamp assistance) benefits to the markets, as well as providing continual support for the venture by organizing volunteers to operate the point of sale machine, and promote using SNAP benefits at the markets
- Collaborating with community partners and policymakers to pass a “Community Gardens Bill”, allowing for community gardens to be sited in more zoning districts and for produce from gardens to be sold to Nashville residents
- Working in partnership with three neighborhood groups to mobilize residents of “food desert” neighborhoods to advocate for policy changes (i.e., changes to transportation systems and financial and zoning incentives for food retailers) that would increase access to healthy, affordable foods
- Collaborating with local and national policy makers to introduce the “Food Desert Relief Act” before the Tennessee legislature; this bill would create incentives to attract grocery stores and farmers’ markets to food desert areas
- Working in partnership to develop a business plan for Nashville Mobile Market, a mobile grocery store that serves Nashville’s food desert neighborhoods
- Advocating to establish the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program in Nashville
- Advocating for the establishment of the school breakfast program across Tennessee
- Leading the coalition that brought Second Harvest Food Bank to Nashville
- Establishing the first Child Care Food Programs in the South
- Operating a Food Stamp Outreach program that, since 1990, has helped thousands of people receive food stamps, adding over $2 million to the dinner tables of Nashville’s poor
- Advocating for disaster food stamp benefits for individuals impacted by the historic May 2010 flooding