Food Justice & Policy

The Chicago Food Policy Council

Urban Growers Collective is actively involved in the Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC), which facilitates the development of responsible policies that improve access for Chicago residents to culturally appropriate, nutritionally sound, and affordable food that is grown through environmentally sustainable practices. The CFPAC is a network of organizations and individuals sharing their experiences and concerns about food security in the Chicago region in order to influence policy makers to make informed decisions motivated by the goals of community food security. Erika Allen, our Co-Founder and CEO – Operations, is the Board Chairperson, and Urban Growers Collective staff provides technical support and assistance to the organization.

Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative

The organizing of the Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative (GFJI) reflects the need for innovative and genuine leadership in the development of a sustainable, community-based food systems movement. The founding members of the initiative are the practitioners of sustainable food systems work: mainly farmers, marketers and other workers who are building new, local systems. Some are familiar with coalition and advocacy work at the national and international levels, while others are new to large-scale initiatives. This initiative strives to outreach to other parallel social justice movements and build solidarity and multidisciplinary support, in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy of building “Beloved Community”.

The vision for this initiative is to establish a powerful network of individuals, organizations and community based entities all working toward a food secure and just world.

It is our goal that:

  • Every neighborhood in low-income communities and communities of color has full access to fresh, healthy, local, affordable, culturally-affirming food every day through a variety of retail channels ranging from farmer’s markets to locally-owned small corner stores and supermarkets.
  • In every low-income neighborhood and in communities of color, the residents of the neighborhood own and operate the small businesses that produce, distribute and sell the fresh, healthy food consumed in the neighborhood.
  • Through ownership and operation of the local food system, every neighborhood in low-income communities and communities of color provides opportunity for its children to develop business skills and leadership capacity offering hope that each child, every family and the community itself can achieve its self-determined destiny.

Intensive Leadership and Facilitator Training

The Intensive Leadership and Facilitator Training (ILFT) is designed to build a community of leaders and provide intensive training and dialogue for participants to facilitate anti-racist food justice in their own programs and communities. We use the title Facilitator instead of Organizer very intentionally. We will discuss the long-term development process that anti-racism work requires and the need for leadership development and empowerment. Another goal of ILFT is to build regional GFJI “network chapters” that we call a LEG (Local Empowerment Group). LEGs create space for others who are dedicated to facilitating change to connect and develop a supportive local, national, and international community to exchange ideas, strategize, and continue training in anti-racism to specifically address how achieving food justice can lead to the end of systemic and institutional racism.

During our trainings, we explore:

  1. Examples of institutional and structural racism and how it operates;
  2. Practical applications of facilitating change and becoming a change agent, including some personal identification to understand the kind of facilitator you are; and
  3. Opportunities to explore the individual role in the anti-racism process of your work with the opportunity to strategize with others to develop an action plan for next steps for implementation

If you are interested in hosting an ILFT training in your city, email us at


Reach out at or (773) 376-8882.