The mission of the SFC is to connect individuals and organization across Somerville to share information, identify solutions, and advocate for resources that support access to affordable, culturally inclusive food for all. Our vision is a visibly resilient, values-driven food system that respects, involves, and serves all community members. Our work is guided by our Somerville Food System Assessment and Food Action Plan.
We encourage all Somerville community members and organizations to join us! You can find a list of participating member organizations below. If you have any questions or would like to join a meeting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Partner Organizations
The steering committee is made up of four community members and four organizational members, with support from Office of Food Access and Healthy Communities and Cambridge Health Alliance Health Improvement Team.
The group first convened in 2010 as ‘Community Action Board’ co-led by two non-profits: Somerville Homeless Coalition and the medical safety net provider Cambridge Health Alliance. Community members, providers, and researchers unified around food security in recognition of the interconnectedness of nourishing food to housing stability and health. Transitioning to a coalition in 2011, the group sought to move beyond an advisory to collective action by securing additional cold storage to increase distribution of produce and protein, increasing local knowledge of existing resources, and learning more about the effects of food insecurity in Somerville and surrounding towns. As the coalition strengthened, it began managing a community meal in 2015 and served as an advisory group to the 2018 CHA Well-Being Report and the 2018 Food System Assessment.
Pre-pandemic, the SFSC met in-person, on a monthly basis to address acute and chronic barriers to food security. The meetings were open to the public, snacks were often served, and an average of 12-15 regular guests attended. A total of 30 unique stakeholder organizations or community members were more engaged, with a few hundred passively involved. Members who often came to the meetings included an immigrant justice organization, a school committee member, food rescue and pantry organizations, an unhoused community member and early childcare providers.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the community of Somerville mobilized quickly to coordinate efforts on emergency food activities because of the pre-existing structure, connections and platform of the SFSC. Similar to other collaborative efforts around food in Massachusetts, relationships in the Somerville food system grew broader and deeper. Our collective action from the past few years are documented in the 2023 Food Action Progress Report here.
With the support of a Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources grant, the coalition spent several months restructuring. Emerging from this a steering committee in the leadership role, along with an updated name, vision and mission. The creation of working groups are underway to provide more focus and action on priority areas of the food system and food security.
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Maintained by the City of Somerville Office of Food Access and Healthy Communities
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