In 2016, the Washington Regional Food Funders, Town Creek Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, and the Chesapeake Foodshed Network commissioned Arabella Advisors to pursue an in-depth landscape analysis of the food economy in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This report provided clients with a detailed snapshot of the region’s food system initiatives, as well as a clear-eyed assessment of the watershed’s most critical gaps and challenges. The purpose was to develop a collective vision and a shared set of actionable priorities.
Arabella conducted 29 interviews with regional stakeholders, including community leaders, agricultural producers, and public health experts. The strength of food system efforts were evaluated for their impact on promoting social equity, environmental sustainability, and economic opportunity. We drew from the deep experience of Arabella’s Good Food team and their work supporting food-related philanthropic ventures across the country to identify three essential elements to creating a good food system: 1) fostering a culture that demands good food, 2) building a supply infrastructure to meet that demand, and 3) cultivating a policy environment that enables a good food system to take root.