Back to the beginning...
In the spring of 2016, a group of 4 individuals began meeting at a community garden in White Township, Beaver County to discuss the current state of community gardens, urban agriculture, and food in the county. Through these conversations, it quickly became evident that there was no consensus on what was happening in the county related to food nor a coordinating entity that could answer these questions. These 4 began to ask "What is really happening how can we figure it out?"
Throughout the summer, they continued to meet and discuss these topics, yet realized the only way to get the answers was to pull most of the "players" in the local food space into the same room. Thus, the "Beaver County Food System World Cafe" was born. In December 2016, 100 leaders and community members were invited to participate in a discussion. Many attended this event where they discussed these questions:
- What are our current assets in the county related to a food system?
- If given a magic wand, what would you change about our food system and why?
- What are the next steps to building a community food system in Beaver County?
Following this discussion, it was evident that the biggest call from these leaders was for a centralized-body in the county to look at the creation and enhancement of the food system and to act as a hub for many things food related in the county.
In February 2017, a leadership team was pulled together along with a non-profit consultant to help develop a name, mission statement, vision statement, and goals. Working throughout the winter and spring, the group began to take form into what is today the River Town Food Alliance.
During the summer of 2017, a small subset of the leadership team presented to the Board of Directors of the Beaver Falls Community Development Corporation (BFCDC) about the BFCDC acting as the fiscal-sponsor for the River Town Food Alliance. The board voted "Yes!" and today the River Town Food Alliance acts as an entity under the umbrella of the Beaver Falls Community Development Corporation. We are actively working on a number of projects that you will be hearing about over the next few months and we look forward to sharing those with you.