Food system organizations and racial equity goals

Author: Rich Pirog, Director, MSU Center for Regional Food systems
Back in January 2020, the Center for Regional Food Systems coordinated a national survey sent to more than 2800 food systems practitioners who registered for one or more of the eight 
Racial Equity in the Food System workgroup webinars over the past two years.

One of the questions asked in the survey was:
In the next five years, what level of progress do you expect your organization to make in reaching racial equity related goals?
The table shares the response to this question, aggregated by organization type.  Non-profits were more than twice as likely to respond that they perceived their organization was going to make significant progress on racial equity goals as compared to land grant food system practitioners. The response by other public/private universities and local/state and federal agency representatives was only slightly better than the land grant practitioners when it came to expecting significant progress.  For more on the survey results,  watch our April 15, 2020 webinar recording
The recent racist killings and attacks on Black Americans and the protests and demonstrations that have followed have focused attention on the anti-Black racism that is embedded within our country and institutions, including our food system.  Many white-led food system organizations (including the Center for Regional Food Systems) have expressed their thoughts and pledged to take more action.  Referring back to the survey question and response data above, what we all want to see moving forward is a 100% response of and commitment to significant progress for racial equity goals across all food system organizations.  Did anything surprise you in the chart? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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    Susan Lightfoot Schempf 3 months ago

    Thanks for sharing this, Rich. What stands out to me is the 19% of local, state, and federal government respondents who said they expect to see "little or no progress" or "don't know" -- to say this is alarming is an understatement. This raises the importance of us pressuring our elected officials to get on board and do something. Do they even have racial related equity goals in place? Are there examples of local municipalities, in particular, who have set racial equity goals that we could distribute and perhaps Food Policy Councils could take leadership to get on local gov't officials' agendas? We heard yesterday that Indianapolis had declared racism a public health emergency - that seems like a step in the right direction.

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