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Food System Resources​

Phoenix ​Resilient Food Systems Program

One of the City's most successful Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) funded programs was the food assistance provided through the Feed Phoenix and Funds to Feed programs that delivered 5,246,566 healthy meals to COVID-19 impacted individuals and families. The Phoenix Resilient Food Systems Program builds off the success and provides additional resources to develop a stronger, connected local food system with more sustainable food options for Phoenix residents. The Phoenix City Council approved over $9 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for food related programs under Economic Development and Innovation, Equity and Inclusion, Local Food Consumption/Production, Food Banks and Pantries Support, Meals That Work, and Resilient Food System. More details for each program can be found below:

Economic Development and Innovation - $3,400,000 

  • Feed Phoenix Program – This program is a continuation of the CRF funded Feed Phoenix Program. Local First Arizona Foundation managed this program and prepared and delivered more than 80,000 meals using local farmers, restaurants, and caterers.
  • Worker Cooperative Sustainable Food System Business Incubator – This program will focus on developing worker cooperatives for sustainable food business enterprises through a collaboration with the private sector and Arizona State University. 
  • Agri-Food Technology Innovation Grants – This program will provide funding and incentives to encourage food system entrepreneurs and innovative food businesses to expand or locate in Phoenix. 
Equity and Inclusion - $2,400,000
  • Funds to Feed Phoenix – This program is a continuation of the CRF funded program that provides funding for community and grassroots organizations and school districts. LISC Phoenix managed this program and delivered 5,165,806 meals.
  • Phoenix Urban Agriculture Fellowship – Provides funding for a one-year fellowship for high school and college age students with local food producers with 60% for Black, Indigenous, and persons of color participants. 
  • Council District Food Action Plans or Initiatives – The program will focus on districts with food deserts, high food insecurity and hunger rates to identify specific projects or initiatives that are needed within the district. 
Local Food Consumption/Production - $1,500,000 
  • Farmland Preservation – In partnership with nonprofits and land trusts, this allocation assists in the purchase and preservation of land for agriculture in Phoenix. 
  • Backyard Garden Program​​ – Provides grant funding for up to 100 residents located in food deserts for backyard gardens and community gardens using aquaponics, raised beds, and other water conservative growing methods.

Food Banks and Pantries Support - $1,300,000 

  • This funding will be used to provide resources for local food banks and food pantries to provide food and other resources for struggling families. Staff will ensure broad engagement with foodbanks and pantries ensuring outreach and emphasis with smaller community-based food banks and food pantries. 

Meals That Work - $700,000 

  • This program will prepare and deliver 1,000 meals weekly for 26 weeks to social service organizations, such as St. Vincent de Paul, schools, and more. Fourteen food service employees at the Convention Center will be utilized to prepare the meals. 

Resilient Food System - $200,000 

  • Resilient and Sustainable Agriculture Projects – Provide grant funding to farms for advancing technologies and methods that address growing food in our changing climate. 

City of Phoen​​​ix Food Resources During COVID-19

The city of Phoenix provi​​ded $2,644,000 for preparation and delivery of 5,246,566 healthy meals and 5,491 fresh produce boxes to 539,096 individuals and 336,184 families from August 2020 through March 2021. The initiatives provided much needed meals and created a more connected, resilient food system. 

The work was completed through two pr​ograms, 1) the Feed Phoenix Initiative administered by Local First Arizona Foundation that included farms, restaurants, caterers, event venues, and social service organizations, and 2) the Funds to Feed Phoenix and Funds for Schools Initiatives administered by LISC Phoenix that included grassroots/nonprofit organizations and school districts.


The Feed Phoenix Initiative was a collaborative project between Local First Arizona and the city utilizing CARES Act dollars to bring healthy, high-quality meals to COVID-impacted families in the city of Phoenix. Local restaurants, caterers, and farms located in Phoenix were employed to help prepare meals from Phoenix-grown produce in order to sustain local jobs and supply chains, strengthen the local food economy and, most importantly, help keep all Phoenicians healthy during the ongoing COVID-19 economic, health and social crises. View the Feed Phoenix Report for more details.

Impact:          ​​​​                                                                 Businesses Supported:                                                      

  • ​​80,760 meals served​​                                              ​12 participating farms
  • 6,405 Thanksgiving meals served                        45 participating restaurants
  • 5,491 fresh produce bags distributed                  29 distribution centers


The Funds to Feed Phoenix and Funds to Schools Initiative was a collaborative project between LISC Phoenix and the city using CARES Act funds to bring 5,165,806 healthy meals to COVID-19 impacted families.  Grassroots, nonprofits and community organizations partnered to enhance existing food delivery occurring in communities by communities. The initiative engaged vulnerable and marginalized populations to provide input on equitable practices for the grant application process in order to reach organizations that may had not be familiar with government grant funding and to design processes that built the capacity of the organizations. Healthy meals and fresh produce boxes were delivered and connections to other nonprofit agencies were developed to increase opportunities for continued partnerships.  

The Funds to Schools Initiative provided funding to assist four school districts located in food deserts and serving COVID-19 impacted families.  The funding enabled school districts to continue to provide summer and weekend meals for an 8-month period.  View the Funds to Feed Phoenix Report​ for more details.

Other Food Resources During COVID-19

​Many organizations are working to provide food for our community. You can find a food bank near you. You're asked to call ahead to check hours and availability. Parents and caregivers can also text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 to find the nearest sites. ​​Locate Maricopa County School Food Distribution Sites or access St. Mary's Mobile Food Pantries information. WIC is a year-round program from Public Health which provides healthy food to pregnant and nursing mothers, as well as infants and children up to five years old. Get started here​. To find additional food system resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit Pinnacle Prevention

The Local First Arizona Foundation good food finder is a great resource that provides information about finding local food for delivery and open farmers markets. Support Arizona Farmers as they work tirelessly to grow and transport the good food we need to keep nourished and healthy. Many farmers markets remain open (with extra precautions), and several farms & local food retailers are offering delivery & curbside pick-up! ​

If you are interested in learning to garden, compost, and other related skills, The Urban Farm is offering their classes free for a limited time​.

Growing F​ood


Interested in creating a community garden? Start here: Phoenix Community Garden Policies Guide.

Need seeds for your garden? The Phoenix Public Library allows you to "check out" seeds from their seed bank. For more information, go to the Phoenix Seed Library Page.

The University of Arizona Extension has also created Maricopa County Seed Library, School and Community Garden Map.

Community Gardeners of Maricopa County is a collaborative group of community gardeners focused on strengthening and creating community spaces for growing healthy, organic, local and affordable food.

Urban Farming

Mesa Community College Center for Urban Agriculture

Small-scale aquaponic food production. Integrated fish and plant farming

Urban Farming Workbook

Buying Food

Arizona Good Food Finder is a website run by Local First Arizona that includes local food events and a directory of farmers markets, caters, restaurants, and other businesses that source food locally.

Arizona Community Farmers Markets lists information about farmers markets around the valley.

Reducing Food Waste

​ASU 'waste watchers' information is a compilation of infographics, videos, and other media intended to educate the public on food waste and methods to reduce food waste. For example, the site includes information on the proper storage of different types of produce to increase shelf life.

The Phoenix Green Business Directory lists businesses that have committed to sustainable business practices, like diverting waste from the landfill and conserving water.

Local Food System Organizations

The Maricopa County Food System Coalition (MarCo) is a voluntary community organization advocating for the regeneration and advancement of the local food system in Maricopa County, AZ. They focus on innovative and collaborative solutions to issues regarding food waste, sustainable farming practices, food distribution and access, land and water use, and nutrition education. The Coalition is made up of a broad cross section of members interested in improving the local food system. The group includes representatives from agriculture, health, food access, processing, community, and policy.

The Arizona Food Systems Network is a community of local, state and regional food systems advocates, practitioners and leaders who have a vested interest in collaborating to improve the food system for all Arizonans. Members, representing individuals, organizations and/or local coalitions, come together to deepen their connections, knowledge and expertise towards actionable solutions.

Local First Arizona is a nonprofit organization that celebrates independent, locally owned businesses. They support, promote and advocate for a strong local business community and raise public awareness of the economic and cultural benefits provided by strong local economies.

Food Related Reports

The Best Practices Guide for Food System Policy and Regulation Change in Maricopa County Communities prepared by the Maricopa County Food System Coalition (MarCo) was released in October 2020.  The report provides information from 10 cities and towns in Maricopa County about unique ways that municipalities are addressing issues confronted by farmers by improving the local food system through setting goals, adopting policies and regulations that make the production, distribution and  consumption of healthy, local food a priority for their communities.

A Comprehensive Community Food Assessment for Maricopa County: An evaluation tool used to measure the food assets and needs of a specific community or region, and point to opportunities for improvement. This assessment has been compiled by MarCo.

Building Community Networks Through Community Foods by MarCo.

2018 Economic Contributions of Agriculture Study by the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics of the Cooperative Extension at the University of Arizona.