Theory of Change

Food:Land:Opportunity looks to reduce fragmentation in the local food system and create the conditions for collaboration using several philanthropic tools, including strategic grantmaking, collaborative place based grantmaking, participatory grantmaking and impact investment.


The Chicago foodshed cannot efficiently meet market demands for local, sustainable food and farmland. Food:Land:Opportunity is pursuing change through three major strategies and related investments:


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 our communities.


Food:Land Opportunity measures the impact of its grant funding on the growth and resiliency of the local food economy through a set of metrics and indicators. These metrics are organized around our key strategies of land access, building supply side skills and attracting capital to the system. In addition, other outcomes track the goal of reduced fragmentation in the system. Progress is tracked around key outcomes reported by grantees including:

  • More land is accessible in per-urban areas for sustainable production
  • More land is accessible in urban areas for farming
  • Local food and farm entrepreneurs’ business skills have improved
  • Local food and farmer businesses operate more effectively
  • Amount of capital deployed through investments, loans and purchase commitments
  • Greater efficiencies in capital deployment
  • Visibility of the local food sector
  • Networks have strengthened along the local food value chain


Contact program staff or sign up to receive email updates.

Kinship Foundation

Lenore Beyer
Director of Conservation Initiatives

The Chicago Community Trust

Michael Davidson
Senior Director – Community Impact