Communities of Opportunity (COO) are places with significant potential to strengthen ties between small and medium–sized farms and residents with limited food access (Raja et al, Growing Food Connections through Planning. FAO, In Press.). In 2015, the GFC team selected eight COOs from across the United States that have since commenced on charting a vision for strengthening their community’s food system. Through the ongoing partnership with each COO, the Growing Food Connections team is publishing a series of case studies that explore how each COO is overcoming barriers to strengthen their food systems through planning, policy, and partnerships within communities. This case study series, titled Exploring Stories of Opportunity, is informed by extensive research and community-based capacity building efforts in each COO.
Each case study in the series highlights opportunities and challenges for promoting food production and food security, and the ways in which community-led civic organizations and private entrepreneurs have partnered with supportive county, city, and town governments to strengthen food systems. The case studies conclude with ‘Ideas for the Future’, a section on key future policy and implementation efforts that can strengthen each county’s food system.