We won! The vote for Local Food Access is in.

Following is the official Press Release written by The Kinship Foundation. While I have enjoyed several definitions of success through life, this represents one of my most meaningful wins. This Old Farm has worked within Local Food Access officially for 7 years. We had yet to help the underserved and those in Food Desserts gain access to good clean food. This project allows us to do just that while also improving access to Local Food for all. While their is an investment component to the win, I find the vote for our work to be just as meaningful. As a reader of our newsletter, I have no doubt you support our work. This vote for our team’s work by some of America’s finest business and food judges only commends and justifies your support. It is with this support that we, This Old Farm along with our Team Leverage Partner’s, Top Box Foods and Farm Logix, were selected among 24 other partnerships to bring the most impact to Chicago Food Access. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your continued support. Stop on in the office to see my first Trophy ever won. It was not until I was on stage being handed a trophy that I understood the excitement that my kids feel when they walk off the field after a win. Go Team Leverage and all those working on making Local Food Accessible to all.

Your Indiana Local Food Partner,


Official Press Releasehttps://www.foodtomarketchallenge.org/#finalists
October 27, 2016

CHICAGO, IL – Sponsors of the Food to Market Challenge today announced Team Leverage: Bringing it Home as the winner of its $500,000 award. A partnership between Top Box Foods, FarmLogix, and This Old Farm, Team Leverage will create a scalable model to bring local, healthy foods into underserved communities in the Chicago region by partnering a local farm network with Chicago companies who currently deliver local food into schools.

The winner was announced at a Pitch Event on October 26 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Five finalist teams presented their ideas to a panel of five judges and an audience of nearly 300 people, which included local food producers, entrepreneurs, investors and staff and executives from the sponsoring organizations, Kinship Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust.

Each finalist team presented a compelling solution to the Challenge’s call to “develop the most innovative solution to improve the supply of local and sustainable food in the Chicago region.”

“The Food to Market Challenge was fundamentally a supply chain competition,” said Michael Davidson, Senior Program Officer at The Chicago Community Trust. “That diverse team structure gave us much more than good, scalable solutions for an emerging but fragmented local food marketplace, it produced the partnerships and coordination required for supply chain efficiency.”

The winning team brings together a non-profit organization that supplies SNAP-enabled boxes of healthy, fresh foods (Top Box Foods), a network of growers and producers based in Colfax, Indiana (This Old Farm), and a technology system to link farmers with buyers, including sourcing and aggregation (FarmLogix).

“We are excited for the opportunity to scale economic impact and nutritional access for the communities we serve—our local farmers, residents of low access Chicagoland communities, and our Chicago youth. This would not be possible without the Challenge. Now we can demonstrate our capabilities on a broader stage. Additionally, we look forward to continuing the collaborative energy that began with this competition to create an impactful solution far greater than we could achieve as individual companies,” said Linda Maller, CEO and President of FarmLogix.

The Challenge put a spotlight on issues that have hindered the scale of local food in the Chicago region and also showcased some of the innovative thinking already taking place. “All of our finalists brought forward tremendous ideas to consider,” said Renee Michaels, Vice President of Kinship Foundation. “We’re excited not only to see the winning solution roll out, but also to see the momentum that has built behind all of the ideas.The energy that the Challenge has brought to farmers, nonprofits, small businesses, and others all along the supply chain has been remarkable. We hope to continue to see ripples of collaboration and innovation in the sector in the months ahead.”

Ben Shorofsky, Programs Specialist at the Delta Institute and a member of one of the finalist teams, the Artisan Grain Collaborative said: “The Food to Market Challenge spurred the development of an unprecedented partnership among bakers, chefs, millers, nonprofits, advocates, entrepreneurs, and school nutrition experts around a common vision of a more regenerative agricultural system. We are looking forward to seeing how this partnership grows and develops as we introduce small batch artisan grains into the Chicago region.”

Another finalist team member, Angela Mason from the Chicago Botanic Garden said, “The Challenge gave us the opportunity to talk about the Farm on Ogden Development, a collaboration that is central to the mission of the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest program. We stood in front of judges and guests who may have not known about the depth of our work throughout Chicago. We are thrilled and honored to have been selected as one of the five finalists in the Food to Market Challenge. The Farm on Ogden Development is a unique partnership that will continue to work together to transform Chicago’s local food system.”

The five finalists were chosen from a pool of 24 submissions. Each team’s application was first ranked and scored by an Evaluation Panel. Then each team’s food production partner(s) had to be certified as local and sustainable. The Selection Committee judges were: Bram Bluestein, Alpana Singh, Helene York, Chuck Templeton and Joel Moore.

–/– About the Food to Market Challenge The ​Food to Market Challenge​ is a project of Food:Land:Opportunity—Localizing the Chicago Foodshed, a multi-year initiative that aims to create a resilient local food economy that protects and conserves land and other natural resources while promoting market innovation and building wealth and assets in the Chicago region’s communities. Funded by the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, Food:Land:Opportunity is a collaboration between Kinship Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust.

About Kinship Foundation Kinship Foundation is a private operating foundation established to advance the institutional philanthropy of the Searle Family. The Foundation has three areas of focus: biomedical research, environmental conservation and education. Its work includes: developing and supporting Chicago-based grant making initiatives through the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust; administering the Searle Scholars Program, a national biomedical research grant program; and operating Kinship Conservation Fellows, a global environmental leadership program.

About The Chicago Community Trust The Chicago Community Trust is a community foundation dedicated to improving the Chicago region through strategic grant making, civic engagement and inspiring philanthropy. The Trust serves nonprofit organizations, donors and residents who strive to make a difference.The Trust works with a number of partnerships and initiatives to accomplish its bold vision to create lasting community change. Since its founding in 1915, the Trust has awarded over $2 billion in grants to more than 11,000 local nonprofit organizations—including more than $208 million in 2015.

Kinship Foundation Renee Michaels, Vice President renee.michaels@kinshipfoundation.org
The Chicago Community Trust Michael Davidson, Senior Program Officer mdavidson@cct.org

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