Ag Innovations

Maricopa County Food Policy Coalition

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Maricopa County, home of Phoenix and Scottsdale, is the United State’s fourth largest metropolitan area. Like most urban areas, the County struggles both to ensure its residents have access to healthy food and to maintain the limited amount of agriculture that remains in its immediate area.


Ag Innovations was selected by a group of community leaders and organizations led by St. Luke’s Health Initiatives to form the Maricopa County Food System Coalition (MCFSC). In this project, we will used everything we have learned during 15-years of leading placed-based food system change collaborations to the enormously complex challenges that the County is facing.

Our approach in the creation of the MCFPC was to focus on building three types of capital that will enable the group to succeed:

  • Human capital: The skills of individual members to work effectively in collaboration. We include skill development in most meetings and will offer our Collaborative Leadership Training course to all members. We will also focus on learning about the local food system first hand through meetings held at food system locations throughout the community, hearing from experts, and in focus groups with members.
  • Social capital: The trust and goodwill between members that enables people to think and act together. We will use tools like creating a group charter and careful group dialogues to develop trust and relationships.
  • Intellectual capital: The new ideas that are needed to make change in the community. This is the action focus of the group and will be directed by the research and learning members achieve throughout the year.

We designed this project such that the group was completely ready to take over its operations and facilitation at the end of 12 months. To do this, self-management and committee work begins during the first meeting.

Ag Innovations was pleased to continue our long commitment to powerful local change collaborations by applying our expertise to the Maricopa County Food Policy Coalition.


“In the world of food and farming systems, the problems are always complex and the players and interests are diverse. Making change in such an environment requires patience and skilled facilitation to bring groups together for collaborative action. Ag Innovations has been doing just that for many years and they do it very effectively.”
Karen Ross, California Department of Food and Agriculture

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