The ‘story’ of our food system is complicated consisting of an interrelated and interdependent web of systems. The industrialized system, food assistance programs, and the local food movement evolve together. The historic and present day ‘story’, within a holistic framework, is important for all consumers to understand as the food we choose impacts many areas of human and ecological well being. Educating consumers about the complex problems and solutions within the food system is an essential first step towards its transformation. Learn more HERE

Food Systems

Connecticut’s regional foodshed is roughly defined by the Northwest Corner, the Connecticut River Valley, the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. It reaches into New England, the Hudson Valley and south into New Jersey. With supportive infrastructure, Connecticut’s foodshed has the capacity to produce a reasonable percentage of its own food. Fostering a resilient foodshed depends on preserving the fertile and productive agricultural soils, woodlands and waterways. Additionally, urban and peri-urban farms and gardens are a critical contributor to Connecticut’s foodshed. Urban food systems, built by and for the community, bolster social and economic empowerment, and provide nourishing food grown in pockets of land where natural ecosystems provide peaceful and healthy spaces. 

Generally speaking, pre Covid-19 pandemic, most people didn’t pay attention to where their food came from, or how it arrived at the grocery store. However, for many, that changed at the height of the pandemic once they experienced empty shelves, realized the dependence on essential workers, and saw how quickly millions of Americans became food insecure. People began to question the efficacy and reliability of the food supply chains. Those who had financial resources, turned to their local farmers, ranchers and fisherfolk and joined a CSA or CSF. At the same time, the under served communities who have been most impacted, became more dependent on food pantries and SNAP benefits. The exposed economic disparities amplify the need for the food system changemakers who are charting the path towards a regional, equitable and just food system.

 Protected foodsheds are essential for human and ecological health.

• 98% of RURAL LAND in the United States is owned by white individuals and families. The disproportionate ownership is at the expense of the Black and Indigenous people who were displaced or lost land due to discriminatory practices; such practices continue today. For Black farmers in particular, the deprivation of land contributes to generational cycles of poverty and is a central cause to the economic disparities prevalent today.

• CONSOLIDATION & CONCENTRATION strains rural agricultural economies. Some of the highest rates of hunger in the United States exist within predominately white rural communities. The ‘get big or get out’ doctrine often strains and/or puts small and medium size farms out of business. Additionally, the consolidation of infrastructure often leaves regional processing facilities obsolete, making it difficult for small and medium size farmers to process, transport and market their products, within their region, in an economically sustainable way.

• HARMFUL FARMING PRACTICES contribute to the ill treatment of soil, watersheds, and animal husbandry. The excessive use of chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics, and the production of commodity mono-crops has lead to serious ecological degradation: loss of habitat, ecosystems and biodiversity, polluted water and air, soil erosion and nutrient depletion, and climate change. Consequently, human health issues result: chronic disease, food and farmworker injury, and emotional distress.

• WORKER’S RIGHTS are often threatened through out the food supply chain. Food workers, and farmworkers in particular, can be subject to harsh and exploitive working conditions such as forced labor, discriminatory hiring practices, substandard wages, and a growing epidemic of sexual assault.

• LOSS OF CONNECTION and relationship between citizens and the people who grow, catch and produce food. Most people do not know where their food is grown or caught, and under what conditions. The loss of connection produces an unfamiliarity with seasonality, true taste and flavor, and the skills of growing, processing, preserving and cooking.


Values the farmers, fisherfolk and ranchers who produce
food in urban and rural agricultural communities.

Builds economic empowerment by investing in
food justice leaders, producers and entrepreneurs.

Fosters robust regionalized food systems within
the context of a fair and just globalized system.

Supports regional infrastructure: food hubs,
processing and distribution facilities.

Protects human rights, animal welfare,
dignity and environmental integrity.

Respects foodsheds: land, woodlands,
waterways and seasonal cycles.

Recognizes food sovereignty as central
to our collective well being.

Reallocates land back to Black farmers
and Indigenous people.

 Addresses the systematic inequities
that cause poverty.

Honors Indigenous and
cultural foodways.

Allows for ecosystems
to regenerate.

Cultivates relationships.

Celebrates terroir.


Join The Foodshed Thymes