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Successes and Challenges: Lessons from Community Food Projects

Other than substantive objectives related to local food production and meeting the food needs of low- income populations, the CFP Program specifies numerous process-related objectives and priorities. These include community capacity building, collaborative stakeholder processes, multi-system and interagency approaches, and resident participation in addressing local food, agriculture, and nutrition issues. Sustaining activities and outcomes beyond the life of the project is another key program priority.

In trying to understand elements of successful practice that cut across projects of different types, this section explores the following questions related to project processes:
• What are the elements of successful CFP practice and what practice-related challenges do Community Food Projects encounter?
• How do CFPs manage to sustain activities after the grant ends?
• In what ways can project-level activities create systemic change?

In organizing focus group responses and grantee report findings related to these questions, it is difficult to separate features that describe successful projects and their outcomes from the elements that help explain successes. For example, strong partnerships have been identified as outcomes of successful projects as well as tools by which to create successful projects. Other similar categories include “shared knowledge of CFS principles and goals,” “community experience and readiness for local food system development,” “community food leadership,” and so on.

There are at least two explanations for this overlap between outcomes and facilitators of successful projects. One, CFPs are essentially community-based experiments in which individuals, organizations, and networks learn through multiple iterations in which practices are honed, resources are increased, and leadership is created. Thus, outputs of one round become inputs to the next one. Two, study CFPs involve organizations and communities at varying levels of knowledge, skills, experience, and network capacity as these relate to community food security practice. What may be an outcome for a new non- profit just starting out may be an important tool for another, more experienced organization to achieve more advanced objectives.

Both sets of responses are therefore combined below into one set of “key characteristics of successful community food projects.” Because of the diversity of objectives and activities undertaken by study projects, the responses to these questions are general and have to do with overall project or organizational factors or partnership-related factors that can be found across activities that may involve, say, community gardening, farmers’ markets, or culinary training. Although the study had exceptional projects that could be considered successful even if they did not have all of the following characteristics, most successful projects contained the elements discussed in this section to a lesser or greater degree.

See what makes a successful project here.


“Partnerships in our grant were definitely important. Especially unlikely partners, those were important… and we went after those… For example, the mayor’s office had launched an effort in sustainability; it was mostly about energy, but they were very interested in a participatory process. We worked with them, and educated them on food issues, and they set up the food policy council to do the food assessment and develop the action plan. Because they came in as a partner, everyone involved is very much a food activist, because they got so many opportunities [to participate] out of this project. Farmers, school district partners… we had a real variety of partners, that was a key part of our success. The things we did, we couldn’t have done individually. So, the buy-in, the momentum, the timing was right, the synergy of all that was happening [made the project] a big success.” – Former CFP Grantee

Successful projects develop innovative, multi-sector approaches. Successful projects often bring together players representing food or community sectors who may not have collaborated before the project, or bring them together in altogether new roles. In this study, food marketing efforts connected individual farmers and cafeteria vendors and managers; food policy councils engaged public and private agencies in health, economic development, sustainability, and planning; gardening projects presented youth as teachers and facilitators; and new farmer initiatives brought together farmland owners and immigrant workers in new relationships. These and other projects helped create new linkages among existing community sectors and brought new perspectives to old problems of food insecurity, low farm income, and neighborhood disadvantage.

Institutional support from local public agencies was particularly helpful for project implementation, through access to resources and assistance from agency staff, according to study participants. It also was important to sustaining activities at the end of the CFP grant, by helping attract additional funding and incorporating some project activities into the agency. Public agencies (such as departments of health and education and extension agencies) also provided linkages to other sectors of government, helped with long-term planning and policy, and leveraged involvement from other local organizations. Study participants pointed to the excitement generated by the innovative approaches of their projects, which engaged partners in novel ways. They also pointed to the depth of learning created by cross-sectoral interactions, and the “aha” nature of revelations that emerged as actions were implemen ed.

Successful projects build community food leadership. Successful projects help cultivate individual and organizational leaders, and community leadership capacity around community food issues and activities. Projects help develop knowledge and experience around specific activities such as urban agriculture training, local policy adoption, farmers’ market development, and linking local farmers with institutional markets, as well as broader organizational skills. As individuals and organizations meet needs and produce outcomes, they also become “go-to” sources in the community on particular issues, pass along their knowledge and skills to newcomers, and help bring more attention and resources to their activities. The development of community food leadership is a tangible indicator of building capacity to address community issues.

The most successful effort that we ever did was to start public conversations about local farmland and start a Harvest Fest to get people on farms. This led to the creation of farmland preservation projects and funding that keeps growing because we built citizen leadership and eventually elected leaders who ran on the platform of saving farmland. Former CFP Grantee
To the extent that such leaders continue to advance community food security issues, they can help advance the project’s goals and perhaps sustain some the activities after CFP funding ends. Successful networks are able to cultivate a cadre of leaders who can work together, legitimately represent diverse sectors and constituencies, and be accountable to each other and the community. Food is a cross-cutting issue that links with multiple sectors in the community. One project leader in this study who initially got involved with urban agriculture and farmers’ market projects, for example, has moved into local health policy and has been able to create broader impacts for her skills.

Successful projects are able to sustain selected activities after the grant ends. A successful CFP is able to develop a group’s resource capacity and experience and put into place mechanisms to continue selected key activities beyond the timeline of the grant where appropriate. These mechanisms may involve successful additional fundraising, income-generating activities, continuing involvement of staff and volunteers, the integration of project activities into the partners’ ongoing activities, and internal cross-subsidies that allow service- oriented components to be supported by entrepreneurial components. These are discussed in greater detail in a subsequent paragraph that lists sustain- ability mechanisms used by CFPs.

Few CFPs are able to sustain all project activities at high levels after the grant ends. The typical Community Food Project has many elements that are labor intensive, such as those related to food production, sales, training, etc. Many activities are service-oriented and do not generate income or become self-supporting in other ways. Low-income communities also have limited ability to pick up the costs of services provided by CFPs, and CFP organizations typically also lack surplus funds to continue activities on their own. Despite these broad challenges, successful CFPs effectively put in place measures during the grant period to help sustain selected activities beyond the life of the grant.

Where to buy Garcinia Cambogia

Natural weight loss is a huge industry these days and Garcinia Cambogia is probably one of the biggest players in the game. Most health experts have given high praise to this new supplement for the way it seems to magically stop new fat from forming, while at the same time burning off fat that’s already there. Though some retail stores have a hard time keeping it in stock, there are actually many places where you can buy Garcinia Cambogia extract.

Buying Garcinia Online

No matter where you end up buying your Garcinia from, you have to make sure that it has a minimum of 50% hydroxycitric acid – normally referred to as HCA. This is what makes Garcinia as powerful as it is. If your supplement doesn’t have this much HCA as a bare minimum, then you aren’t going to the kind of weight loss results you’re expecting.
It’s OK if it has potassium and/or calcium added in. These aren’t just filler ingredients used to make it more affordable to produce. These ingredients actually helps your body absorb the Garcinia better than it would without it. So it’s pretty much a good thing.

Reading the Label

While you’d think it’s common sense to read the label before buying any type of health supplement, you’d be surprised at how many people don’t. When you buy Garcinia Cambogia online, though, it can be more of a challenge. Not all sellers give you the opportunity to clearly the view the label before you buy – and that’s not a good thing.
There are a couple of possibilities here: One is that they simply didn’t think about offering the label in an easy to view manner on their website. If that’s the case, I wouldn’t want to buy from them anyways. Not when there are sellers who take the time to think about their customers and provide them everything they need to make the bet buying decision for them.

Secondly though, it could simply mean they’re hiding something. They don’t want you to see what you’re actually buying. It could be they don’t the industry recommended amount of HCA – which is vital to making it effective. It could be that they have a bunch of added, filler ingredients in their extract or a number of other things.

This is your health we’re talking about here, as well as your money. Never buy if you can’t read the label to see exactly what you’re getting.

Warning About Online Scams

If you’re going to buy Garcinia Cambogia on the internet, there’s another big thing that you should be aware of – in addition to the above points. That is free trial scams. Don’t ever fall for these. Almost every single one of these offers will end up costing your more and possibly putting you into a subscription service that’s very hard to get out of. We’ve yet to find one that doesn’t come with at least some of these strings attached.


Premium Garcinia Cambogia

While Garcinia Cambogia is likely the most effective fat burner for losing weight, the garcinia supplements available are not all created equal. Have a look at the chart here to clearly see that…  Because it’s become such a hot-selling item, there are many fly-by-night websites that are here today and gone tomorrow. If you aren’t careful, you could end up wasting your money or getting scammed into an expensive auto ship program that sends you monthly orders on auto-pilot – charging your credit card each and every month. One site we’ve found that looks terribly suspicious is the one for “Premium Garcinia Cambogia”.

labelThe MISSING Label

The first reason we’re warning you about them is that they don’t show you the label. If you can’t view the label for yourself, then how do you know what’s really in it? They just expect you to take their word for it I guess. This is all too common in lower grade supplements, because they know if you seen what you’re getting you probably wouldn’t buy.

I even filled out their form to get through to the next page and see if they at least show you the label when you go to order. But no. No label. This is always a red flag to watch out for.

**Update: We did finally find the label in a small text link at the bottom of the page by terms and conditions.

MINDTRICKSPlaying Mind Tricks on You

At the top of their page, there’s a notice that this brand has sold out in most stores in your local area. Don’t fall for this, either. Even if it mentions your town by name. They’re simply using a script on their site (technical stuff) that can tell what your location is and that notice will change to read whatever town the visitor is in.

They also have links to PDF’s they’ve created with information from clinical studies that have been done on garcinia. This makes it look like they’re officially affiliated with these studies. They’re not. They just put the information in a PDF and made viewable on their site to subtly make you believe that.

cost-premium-garciniaCosts Way Too Much

Garcini, or HCA extract, is supposed to be cheap. It’s one of the key things that even Dr. Oz mentioned when he featured this supplement on his show. You should be able to get it for about $30 – at MOST. However, they expect you to pay nearly $50 for a single bottle of their extract.

Money Back Guarantee if You Get PERMISSION

This is also very common. These “businesses” plaster money back guarantees all over their site. But it’s only in the fine print that you learn you have to 1.) be able to get in touch with them 2.) get a return authorization number. Then you also have to pay shipping and handling to return the product. Once it’s received, they say it takes about a WEEK to process your refund.

Want to read reviews on other brands? Click here.


It’s way too easy to get scammed when buying health supplements online these days if you don’t take the time to do your own research before buying. Hopefully these reviews and our tips on what to look for when buying garcinia supplements will help you avoid becoming a victim. As for what we can recommend, see below.

wwrecommend garciniabanner270613 We put in a lot of time researching different brands of garcinia, because 1.) we feel this is the best weight loss supplement available right now, but 2.) Too many sellers are taking advantage of buyers who don’t know any better.

As for a brand we do trust and recommend, that would be NewLifeBotanicals. You can only find it through or through Amazon. You won’t find it being sold by dozens of different people or find it plastered all over the internet. There are several reasons we recommend this specific brand..

  • It’s all natural (always a good thing)
  • It clearly provides 60% HCA
  • Continues to receive amazing feedback
  • Has 600mg per capsule
  • You don’t get ripped off with it being full of fillers
  • You get the most amazing money back guarantee we’ve seen (no questions asked, no return authorizations, nothing!)

amazon alive

Diet Coke Under the Gun

diet-coke-under-the-gunDiet coke is the 2nd best selling soda in the country. But recently, it’s been getting the type of attention that no business wants.

Coca-Cola’s own executive admitted on Tuesday’s conference call where he and analysts were discussing business, that there has been some pressure on them. Why? The ingredient controversy – again. People are smarter consumers than ever before and are growing tired of artificial ingredients.

Coca-Cola is headed by Steve Cahillane in Latin and North America. According to him, the pressure really isn’t exclusive to their brand, but a general consensus against all diet products in the U.S.

He put forth his assurance that he very much believes in what the future has to hold for Diet Coke. After all he said, it is the number two selling soda in the country every since they knocked Pepsi from that pedestal in 2010.

He announced that the’re upping the ante and putting more funds into the brand to boost its performance. It’s not hard to find an example of that. Just look at the promotion they recently ran with Taylor Swift.

Soda has been receiving negative media attention for a while. Consumers in the U.S. have been reducing the amount of soda they purchase, as well. Maybe because of the warnings that have been released about diet sodas, the amount of diet soda being sold is drastically lower than that of regular sodas.

Last year alone, Coke sales dropped a mere one percent. But diet coke sales dropped three percent. That’s three times as much! Poor Diet Pepsi seen a whopping 6.2 percent drop.

So what warnings are we referring to? First of all, there have been multiple warnings about aspartame. However, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has released statements about aspartame. They claim that it can be safely used as a sweetener. The American Cancer Society stepped in saying that claims aspartame can cause cancer is not true, too.

A Handful of Foods to Help You Lose Weight

hot-sauce-weight-lossSweet news to any dieters’ ears… eating chocolate can be beneficial for you even if you’re trying to lose weight. This is all according to new research that’s recently been released from YouGov’s British study.

Many people think that if you want to lose weight, you’ve got to suddenly say goodbye to ever having desserts or sweets. However, these numbers just might shock you.

In this study, they report that over 90 percent of the participants who were successful at losing ten percent of their body fat were able to do so while still enjoying chocolate. So what’s the deal? They believe that it’s all a matter of not making yourself feel deprived. If you completely cut that favorite candy or chocolate that you love, you’re probably not going to end up sticking to you diet.

So yes, you can still have your cake. Your chocolate. Your cookie. Just don’t overdo it. While you’re at it, try to include these in your diet, too!


Research shows that eating apples help you stay slimmer. Peen State University confirmed this. They reported that if you eat an apple before eating dinner (especially a heavy pasta dinner or burger!), you’ll likely not eat as many calories. Apples fuel your body with fiber. Because fiber is so slowly digested, it keeps you fuller.

Spice it up with Hot Sauce

You read that right! Spice up your next omelette with a dosing of your favorite hot sauce. Hot sauce has what’s called capsaicin. It’s odorless. You can’t taste it. But for a short time after eating it your metabolism gets a boost. It’s also believed that it helps because you probably aren’t going to chow down quite as fast if it’s got hot sauce in it. Therefore, your body has more time to tell your brain you’re full and you stop eating.

Enjoy a Glass of Wine

That’s right… does it get any better? While you’re dieting you can have your wine and eat your chocolate too. Those who drink a small amount of wine were not as likely to gain weight as those who don’t drink at all. It’s not been proven as to why exactly this is, but hey, we’ll take it!


Important Message from CFSC

After 16 years of leadership, collaboration, and groundbreaking work in the food justice movement, the Board of Directors and senior staff of the Community Food Security Coalition have made the difficult decision to begin transitioning our programs and services to our trusted partner organizations and coalition members. We will close current operations of the Community […] Read the full article →

CFSC Program Stewardship for the Future

As CFSC winds down its operations and begins working with partners to take on lead roles for our numerous shared program and services, we want to share the process that we have been using as we step back from these programs. Every decision and conversation to step back from programs has begun with this question […] Read the full article →