My home, Charlotte, N.C., is also home to 60 food deserts—food challenged expanses of the city and surrounding metropolitan area where over 73,000 residents are living with difficult access to fresh, healthy food.
At CGI America 2014, Queen City Forward—a social entrepreneurship incubator with the mission to accelerate the growth of social entrepreneurs and change makers in the Charlotte region—announced the new Innovation Challenge: Food Commitment to Action to 1) increase access to affordable, healthy food, 2) build the local food ecosystem, and 3) educate and incentivize consumers to make healthier food choices. The competition will source original solutions and galvanize new business models and initiatives from entrepreneurs to strengthen food production, distribution, and consumption.
Attending the CGI America Meeting in Denver this June gave us a critical opportunity to share our commitment efforts with other attendees of the Entrepreneurship Working Group, representing support organizations from across the country and the federal government. It was refreshing to sit at a table with other socially conscious incubators from across the region to discuss best practices, swap “war” stories, and identify ways to advance our sector through collaboration. Several organizations committed to assist Queen City Forward in implementing the innovation challenge this fall, and the new, national connections made at the meeting will be essential to our ability to grow and expand our work throughout the Southeast region.