California FreshWorks is comprised of a statewide network of CDFI lenders that provide financing to food enterprises that invest in an equitable food system and increase access to affordable, healthy, culturally-appropriate food in underserved communities. We approach food access not only as a health issue, but also a community development and equity issue. Therefore, along with increasing access to healthy foods FreshWorks works to cultivate economic power and leadership; and focuses on racial and social equity, environmental stewardship, and local sourcing.
The California FreshWorks’ Social and Economic Impacts 2018-2020 report, authored by Pacific Community Ventures, examines the development and implementation of California FreshWorks from 2018 through 2020. As administrators of FreshWorks, Community Vision took a community-centered approach to healthy food financing by listening to the ideas and solutions of local leaders who are working for an equitable and sustainable food system that nourishes all communities.
Grounded in a perspective that centers Black communities, Indigenous communities, and communities of color as experts, the strategies of FreshWorks can be applied more broadly toward community development. This approach prioritizes relationship building and facilitating pathways for communities to realize the vision they have for themselves.