Cross-sector Collaboration in Food Security

To help users find relevant, quality resources from our Resource Library, we create curated lists on a variety of topics, bringing important practitioner- and academic-oriented work to the forefront.


Here we present resources on cross-sector collaboration in food security — cases, articles, tools, and reports that tackle topics ranging from summer meals for youth to creating sustainable food systems to state and local health policy making and more.


View all our curated lists here.


Advancing Summer Meals through Collective Impact, Share Our Strength’s Center for Best Practices and Community Wealth Partners, 2014

This report examines cross-sector collaborations in Detroit and Baltimore to increase children’s access to summer meals. “By pursuing the collective impact model, these groups saw a number of powerful benefits, including strategic coordination of resources, alleviation of ‘red tape’ barriers and collective recognition of regulatory challenges, and opportunities for a cohesive, region-wide awareness campaign. The experiences of Detroit and Baltimore bring to light important considerations for other communities about the value of collaboration.”


Best Practices for Creating a Sustainable and Equitable Food System in the United States, Center for American Progress, Ashley Blackwell, 2016

“This issue brief outlines a roadmap to create a more sustainable and equitable food system. It first provides an overview of the existing state of food insecurity in the United States; it then gives an overview of national best practices, highlighted through specific case studies, and discusses tools to fund such initiatives and to build cross-sector partnerships that take a holistic approach to addressing food deserts and food insecurity.”

Scholarly Article

The Collective Impact Model and Its Potential for Health Promotion: Overview and Case Study of a Healthy Retail Initiative in San Francisco, Health Education & Behavior, Johnna Flood et al., 2015

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In this critical case study analysis of the Tenderloin Healthy Corner Store Coalition in San Francisco, the authors “illustrate how [collective impact] strategies, augmented by the community coalition action theory, are being used, and with what successes or challenges, to help affect community- and policy-level change to reduce tobacco and alcohol advertising and sales, while improving healthy, affordable, and sustainable food access. [The authors] discuss the strengths and weaknesses of CI as a framework for health promotion, as well as the benefits, challenges, and initial outcomes of the healthy retail project and its opportunities for scale-up.”


Food as a Catalyst for Change: Local Enterprises Aim to Rebuild the Food System in Birmingham, Alabama, ChangeLab Solutions, 2012

“In Birmingham, Alabama, advocates see tremendous potential for local business initiatives aimed at strengthening the food system. But the region’s history, culture, and politics present some particular challenges, from the culinary tradition of rich, deep-fried foods to segregation’s legacy of political fragmentation and distrust of government. ChangeLab Solutions went to Birmingham to learn about local efforts to build healthy food enterprises in the region and to glean lessons for other cities and towns.”


Health in All Policies: A Guide for State and Local Government, The Public Health Institute, Linda Rudolph et al., 2013

“Health in All Policies: A Guide for State and Local Governments was written by the public health facilitators of the California Health in All Policies Task Force and is geared toward state and local government leaders who want to use intersectoral collaboration to promote healthy environments. There are many different ways to support intersectoral collaboration for health, and the guide provides a broad range of perspectives and examples.”

Scholarly Article

The Convening Power of Food as Growth Machine Politics: A Study of Food Policymaking and Partnership Formation in Baltimore, Urban Studies, Melanie Bedore, 2014

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“Much has been written about the conditions for successful partnership formation, however the qualities of the policy issue itself have rarely been central to this debate. Drawing on qualitative research about a food policymaking initiative in Baltimore, Maryland, this article explores the ‘convening power’ of food as a policy topic, and the relationship between civic capital and the politics of urban growth in horizontal partnerships.”

Scholarly Article

U.S.-based Community Food Security: Influences, Practice, Debate, Journal for the Study of Food and Society, Anne C. Bellows and Michael W. Hamm, 2015

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“The practice, policies, and debate associated with U.S.-based community food security (CFS) reflect the historical development of food rights and food security at the international and U.S. national, state, and local community scales. … In this paper, [the authors] provide a short history of international food rights and food security and a background on the diversity of CFS perspectives and practice in the United States. [They] identify some of the many entry points for CFS activities to portray the need for a system-wide strategy to address food security.”


Healthy Food Access: A View of the Landscape in Minnesota and Lessons Learned from Healthy Food Financing Initiatives, The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, 2016

This study, whose purpose is to “provide new information for practitioners and other stakeholders interested in improving Minnesota’s food retail environment,” explores “ healthy food financing initiatives (HFFIs) … public-private funds that offer flexible capital in the form of loans and grants to developers and operators of food retail businesses” with a goal of expanding healthy food access in underserved communities.


Community Food Security Assessment Toolkit, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2002

This toolkit, which is designed for use by community-based non-profit organizations and business groups, local government officials, private citizens, and community planners, “provides … standardized measurement tools for assessing various aspects of community food security. It includes a general guide to community assessment and focused materials for examining six basic assessment components related to community food security. These include guides for profiling general community characteristics and community food resources as well as materials for assessing household food security, food resource accessibility, food availability and affordability, and community food production resources.”


Designing Collaborative Councils to Improve Policy Outcomes, The Intersector Project, 2015

Food policy councils (FPCs) are collaborative governing bodies, found at the local, state, and regional level, that bring together diverse food system stakeholders to develop policies or policy recommendations through a holistic, systems-wide approach, rather than through isolated, piecemeal strategies. This article from The Intersector Project’s Research to Practice series examines Public Administration Review research on FPCs that asks what, if anything, can practitioners do to design these councils so that they are more likely to generate the diverse policy outcomes that are demanded by complex food systems challenges.