Promoting Better Health through Efficient Food Systems
Through the Tipping Points grant program, FFAR aims to better understand the complexities of the food system, how components of the food system influence one another, which interventions work best in specific environments, and how they can be changed or combined to optimize their impact on the food system and overall community health and the economy. Dynamic and systems models provide the capacity to evaluate complex scenarios and outcomes that arise from interactions between individual components of a system, potentially uncovering new functions of these components.
Responding to COVID-19
The Tipping Points Grantees work with community organizations to understand local food systems and improve health and economic outcomes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans relied on fragile emergency food systems. We saw an opportunity to incorporate data about how food supply chains in cities are responding to COVID-19. We awarded a total of $482,642 to the five grantees to examine the trade-offs associated with policy and programming interventions in response to COVID-19.
About the Research
Joy Casnovsky, MPAff, Sustainable Food Center
Evaluating Food Access Strategies in Austin to Improve Healthy Food Consumption and Food Security
The FFAR grant is being matched by Austin Public Health.
Beth Feingold, Ph.D., University at Albany
Environmental and Nutritional Benefits of Food Recovery and Redistribution: A Pilot Assessment in New York’s Capital Region
Darcy Freedman, Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Modeling the Future of Food in Your Neighborhood
The FFAR grant is being matched by Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Center for Health Affairs, City of Cleveland Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Cleveland State University, Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland, The Ohio State University (OSU) Extension Cuyahoga County, OSU John Glenn School, OSU SNAP-Ed, Saint Luke’s Foundation, The Food Trust, Unify Project and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.
Steven Gray, Ph.D., Michigan State University
Identifying Leverage Points for Transformation in Urban Food Systems
The FFAR grant is being matched by C.S. Mott Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Flint Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Fitness Foundation and Michigan State University.
Becca Jablonski, Ph.D., Colorado State University
Integrating Community and Modeling Efforts to Evaluate Impacts and Tradeoffs of Food System Interventions
Dr. Jablonski and team are evaluating the potential for Denver based food system policies and initiatives to support food system efforts throughout the state. Research will include various sources of data to characterize Denver, Colorado’s producer, processor, retailer and consumer behavior to build a computational model of the current food system and develop hypothetical intervention scenarios. The $1 million FFAR grant will help connect food security and access efforts with the agri-business, natural resources and economic development community through a tool that can help communities understand tradeoffs associated with different food policy, programming, and initiatives.
The FFAR grant is being matched by Colorado Food Policy Network, Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Association, Colorado Potato Advisory Committee, Colorado Wheat Research Foundation, Colorado State University, City/County of Denver, LiveWell Colorado, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver Urban Gardens, Field to Market, IP3 and Kaiser Permanente for a total $2 million project.
Health is inextricably linked to food and the environment, where environment consists of all aspects of a community including housing, education, the economy, and many other factors. Throughout the US many communities exist where disproportionate segments of the population are affected by chronic diseases, food insecurity, and poverty, largely caused by inequities within different components of a community or region. Governments from the local to federal level, philanthropic foundations, and local community partners have targeted specific components within communities or regions to elicit change. While these efforts have had significant impact, they are often disconnected from one another, missing opportunities that take into account the interdependent relationships between components of these complex and dynamic communities and regions.
The food system is an integral part of a community/region and is often targeted for change due to its direct connection to health and the economy. The food system itself consists of multiple interdependent parts that influence one another including access, quality, and affordability of food, that ultimately lead to changes in behavior. Broadly, these components can drastically impact and be impacted by vital parts of the community including the economy, health, and education. Across the US there are many communities with interventions that attempt to drive change to more equitable systems that promote local economies and improve health disparities at a population level. In many communities, even communities with a plethora of interventions that have similar overarching goals, these interventions operate independently of one another. And while each of these interventions do drive change, their potential to sustainably transform the system can be lost when interventions are designed and evaluated outside the context of an interconnected system. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) aims to sustainably transform food systems to better promote health, equity, and economic opportunities by increasing our fundamental understanding of these systems.
FFAR aims to build on the investments already made that target food systems within communities and regions. This RFA attempts to leverage the knowledge gained through these investments to increase our understanding of the complexities within a community or regional food system. The insights gained from these interventions and understanding their interdependence on each other can lead to sustainable solutions that promote health and increase economic opportunities. Through this program, FFAR aims to better understand the complexities of the food system, how components of the food system influence one another, which interventions work best in specific environments, and how they can be changed or combined to optimize their impact on the food system and overall community health and the economy. Dynamic and systems models provide the capacity to evaluate complex scenarios and outcomes that arise from interactions between individual components of a system, potentially uncovering new functions of these components.