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Market-Based Models for Increasing Access to Healthy Food: Defining What Works

The elements of success and innovative strategies bringing businesses and products to scale to reach wider markets.

November 29, 2012


There are increasingly more non-traditional food enterprises across the U.S. proving that, through innovative, market-based approaches, we can address food access barriers, particularly for underserved, limited-resource consumers. The Wallace Center is compiling what has been learned by working with thirty food enterprises from across the country which are focused on food access. These enterprises are all part of Wallace Center’s Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development (HUFED) program. In this webinar, program leaders share key highlights and takeaways resulting from this program, their expertise and additional research results. Presenters share many examples of innovative and effective strategies for moving food along the supply chain and helping consumers to ultimately purchase and consume healthy food. The webinar focuses on the elements of success and innovative strategies that are bringing businesses and products to scale to reach wider markets, that may help you develop your own innovations.

Webinar Outline

Enterprising businesses are increasing their efficiency, reducing costs, addressing food equity, and engaging existing community assets to get healthy, affordable food to underserved consumers. The webinar introduces one such business, Lake County Community Development Corporation (CDC) in Ronan, Montana. Lake County CDC led a community-wide multi-stakeholder strategic planning and implementation process resulting in increased access to local healthy food in Western Montana. They share specific strategies which they employ to understand their consumers, increase availability of healthy food choices, develop markets, and increase efficiency along their food supply chain.

This is followed by a broader discussion of healthy food access learning across a wide range of models in the U.S to include rural, urban, and urban-rural linkages. Wallace Center staff share the Center's approach to understanding food access barriers, challenges, and successes. We walk through the food supply chain giving examples of these challenges, successes and considerations for each link in the food supply chain. We also discuss how demand data and consumer behavior ties into success, what works for consumer preferences, and innovative ways to support a more sustainable and equitable food system that is healthier for people, the environment, and the economy.




Presentation Slides

Download the slides (PDF)


Presenter Bios

John Fisk

John FiskJohn Fisk, PhD, has an extensive history as a national leader in sustainable and equitable food systems work and currently serves as the Director of the Wallace Center at Winrock International, based in Arlington, Virginia. Under Dr. Fisk’s leadership, the Wallace Center has emerged as a national force in food systems work utilizing a market-based solutions strategy for linking a larger number of people and communities to “good food”— food that is healthy, green, fair, and affordable.

Prior to joining the Wallace Center, Fisk served as board chairperson and later as Director for Programs and Development at Michigan Food and Farming Systems, a statewide sustainable food systems organization, where he lead work to mobilize values-driven markets for sustainably produced agricultural products. Fisk has provided food systems consulting to several Michigan-based organizations including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In his work with the Kellogg Foundation, he provided strategic leadership to the Food and Society Initiative (FAS) as well as grantee support and review and has directed the FAS Networking Conference for six years which has become one of the premiere conferences in the nation for advancing sustainable food systems change.

Fisk is a published author of agricultural research and has written several chapters on sustainable food and farming systems. He has served as a Fellow in the Donella Meadows Leadership Program for Systems Thinking at the Sustainability Institute and was also awarded a C.S. Mott Fellowship of Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University. >Fisk holds a PhD in Crop and Soil Sciences from Michigan State University, a Masters in Agronomy from University of Missouri-Columbia and a Bachelor degree in Environmental Studies-Agroecology from the University of California-Santa Cruz. 

Michelle Frain Muldoon

Michelle Frain MuldoonMichelle Muldoon, a bi-racial, bi-cultural Asian American, is a Program Manager and Food Marketing Specialist with more than seventeen years of experience designing, improving, and running complex social change projects in some of the most impoverished and underserved parts of the United States and Africa. Her skills and experience span Social Change; Social Marketing; Health, Diet, and Nutrition for Healthy Food Marketing; Food Systems & Regional Economies; Working with People of Color and Historically Disadvantaged groups; and many more areas. Muldoon created a self-sustaining business skills training center that still functions today, in Togo, West Africa; she was a marketing educator to U.S. family farmers, working at Rodale Institute. Michelle currently manages the Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development (HUFED) Center at the Wallace Center.

Karl Sutton

Karl Sutton

Karl Sutton currently serves as program manager for the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise and Cooperative Development Center. Karl has a background in education, networking, and community based participatory research and food system development. He earned his Bachelor's of Arts degree from the University of Montana and Master's of Arts degree in Environmental Studies with an emphasis on Social Ecology from Prescott College, and is a certified middle- and high school teacher. Karl has served as a principal investigator for a community food assessment (CFA) project and as a working member of the redesign of the Center for Whole Measures assessment and the community organizing tool "Whole Measures for Community Food Systems Values Based Planning and Evaluation". Karl completed the CooperationWorks Cooperative Development Specialist training in 2012, as well as Cornell’s online Good Agricultural Practices training and coordinates GAP trainings for the center. Karl recently authored an article in the October issue of Rural Cooperatives Magazine titled "Montana’s small-scale poultry growers struggle to find economic way to process, market birds," and coauthored an article for the November issue of the English Journal titled, "'I guess I do know a good story': Reenvisioning Writing Process with Native American Students and Communities." In his spare time, Karl and his wife and daughter are revitalizing a small diversified fruit and vegetable farm outside of Polson, Montana.

Ashley Taylor

Ashley TaylorAshley Taylor is a program coordinator and administrator with more than five years of experience implementing and supporting domestic and international programs that serve diverse low-income and under-served populations and increase access to healthy, sustainable food. Ashley has a master’s dress in Sustainable Development Planning and Management, is certified in Village Development Permaculture, and has worked with small farmers in South Africa, Indonesia, and throughout the US.   Currently, as the Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development (HUFED) Program Coordinator for the Wallace Center, she supports to 30 grantees across the United States and is actively researching best practices for food access, food enterprise development, regional food systems, and food value chains. 


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