People Want to Eat Well.

That’s why there is such an abundant network of growers and food producers in Chicago. 

The Community Food Navigator is creating a place for all of us working to feed our communities. Connections already exist. We are making connections stronger, easier, and more visible.

About the Community Food Navigator

Chicagoans growing and producing food in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities are the heart of our local food system. We need better access to knowledge, resources, support, and connections. These are necessary for creating and making use of opportunities for sustainable funding, tools, and operations.

Community Food Navigator supports connection and collaboration among the people, communities, and organizations working to strengthen a more equitable and just, rich Chicago region food ecosystem.

Our mission is to expand food sovereignty—particularly in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities—by engaging Chicago-area growers and food producers; strengthening connections and collaboration; telling more truthful stories about the Chicago food system; and redistributing power.

Foundations for Food Justice

The Community Food Navigator seeks to connect people who contribute to a Chicago region food system that works for all, especially those in communities fighting inequities to grow, process, produce, distribute, donate, or buy fresh, local food. This project builds upon the research and engagement work that the Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC) started in 2019 and continues to support as a steward of this project.

In early 2021, the Community Food Navigator held a series of conversations and workshops designed and facilitated by ChiByDesign, and focused on growers and food producers led by or serving Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. The findings of these conversations, compiled in a report by ChiByDesign, highlight the unmet needs and opportunities for community-led food systems, and ground this project’s vision and values. Thank you to all who participated in the workshops.

A Community Stewarded Model

Too often decisions about how our communities access food — or don’t — are made far from our neighborhoods. As stewards of the Community Food Navigator, we work with the Navigator team to collaborate and create digital and in-person spaces where people, communities, and organizations connect and organize based on their shared interest in local, accessible, and healthy food for all. 

In developing the Community Food Navigator, we the growers and food producers set our project’s goals and priorities. As this project grows, we welcome you to join us in this approach.

The Community Food Navigator is building a collective voice, fostering new ways of connecting, exchanging, and amplifying the work of growers, producers, mobilizers, educators and allies supporting and sustaining community-driven solutions.

Please check out these Community Practices, which document the Community Food Navigator’s commitment to collective care. We encourage our shared community to foster digital and in-person experiences that safeguard the safety, inclusion, authenticity, and collective well-being of all our participants. 

We have just begun the development of this guidance.  As with all of this project’s efforts, we will improve the specificity and the language based on this community’s needs and experiences.