Our food system, like any complex system, is made up of many multifaceted parts. At CFAC, when we think about our food system, we take a systemic approach, meaning we look at all of the factors – from the farm to the processor to the table to the landfill. Beyond those stages that the food goes through, we also look at all of the diverse elements that impact, and are impacted by those stages – policy making, workforce development, financing, food security, environmental health, and many others. That’s why our committees work on projects covering a wide range of issues! With a small staff, we may only work on two to three distinct projects at a time, but over the history of our work, we’ve worked on many different areas of the food system. We focus our work on what the food system needs at any point in time!
To explain the food system’s elements in a little greater detail, here is a great infographic from Nourish, an initiative focused on food system education. While local and industrial food systems don’t always follow the patterns below, these infographics are useful for considering some of the differences we see in how food gets to our plate (and to the landfill).