Community Food System Assessments

The first step to creating a Community Based Food System is to learn where you are. A Community Food System Assessment is a tool to help communities collaborate with diverse stakeholders to uncover the many layers of their food system from the farm gate to the plate.

These participatory research projects help to define what issues are priority to promote healthier soils, healthy people and healthy local economies. Using surveys, community asset mapping, key stakeholder interviews and analyzing food and farm policies a report is compiled that helps tell a community’s food story with recommendations for action.


Through leadership development and community based research, CFA helps to equip advocates and change agents so they can better define the opportunities and challenges in their food system and work together to solve them. We started this work by exploring food insecurity in West Louisville with “Bridging the Divide: Growing Self-Sufficiency in Our Food Supply” in 2007. Next, we collaborated with the University of Kentucky’s Rural Sociology Department on a Lexington Food System Assessment Report.

Today, we are using what we have learned in Louisville and Lexington to support rural areas as they organize and begin researching food security issues in their Community. Currently, we are working in three communities: Berea, Floyd County and Bowling Green. Check out the progress of these assessments, by clicking on the links at the top of this page.

If you are interested in getting involved in one of our current research projects or want to access our research tools, please contact Martin Richards at: Martin (at)