The Council for Healthy Food Systems’ mission is to build community, educate policymakers, and inform the public on healthy food systems, namely diversified local and regional food systems that are healthy, safe, economically sound, and environmentally sustainable.
Our organization develops information to educate farmers, consumers, elected officials, and media on the systemic changes needed to establish healthy food systems, from the soil to the eater.
And we don’t stand alone. We build partnerships with and among agricultural, civil, business, and community leaders to bring people together to solve the complex issues we face through systemic, transformative action.
Knowledge: Food and agriculture is a complex system that involves humans, animals, plants, soil, and water. Our health, safety, economic well-being, and environment are all impacted by different farming methods and the dynamics of food production and consumption.
Empowerment: We seek to empower individuals to make good decisions, for themselves as individuals and for society, in what they grow and eat.
Unifying: Food crosses political, economic, social, and cultural boundaries. We strive to build bridges and connections among diverse individuals and communities.
Resilience: Natural and social conditions are not static, nor homogeneous. We look for information and solutions on how to build a food and agricultural system that is resilient over time, creating a sustainable environment that does not reduce the capacity to provide for future generations. Resilient farming meets the food needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Community: Food and agricultural systems involve social, governmental, and community elements. We address how food systems affect, and are affected by, local, regional, national, and international government policies, market forces, and cultures.
Education: In order to make optimal choices, people need access to comprehensible information and knowledge.
Diversity: Our members come from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs. Food is not a liberal or conservative issue, it is a human issue.
Accountability and Transparency: Too many laws and regulations have been made by people doing the bidding of large corporations, often acting behind closed doors. Governments should be transparent, accessible and accountable to the people, and receptive to strong formal producer and consumer advocacy.
Integrity: We say what we mean and mean what we say. Our positions are based upon the latest research and practice, albeit constantly evolving, not speculation. We work to empower people to act, not out of fear, but out of knowledge.
The Council develops educational programs and materials about the health, safety, economic, and environmental impacts of different food systems, from production to consumption. The materials also address the impacts and interrelationships of government policies, market forces, and culture on food systems, from production to distribution and consumption.
We develop original materials, along with sharing and analyzing existing information, on topics such as: food safety on small and sustainable farms; genetically engineered crops; ecological, political, cultural and economic aspects of sustainable farming; examples of farming and food systems from other countries; effects of climate change on different types of farming systems; and food security.
CHFS also hosts educational events for small-scale farmers, local food producers, and consumers, providing workshops to help farmers be successful in building businesses based on sustainable agriculture and to educate non-farmers about buying decisions and gardening methods that support healthy food systems.
Additionally, the Council co-hosts (along with sister organization Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance) an annual Southern Family Farmers & Food Systems Conference, bringing together independent farmers, consumers, local food activists, educators, home gardeners, and all who care about where and how their food is grown.