The Franciscan Sisters of Mary support efforts that contribute to a thriving, sustainable local food system in the St. Louis region, essential to our Focus on compassionate care of creation. The values that guide our giving are
- service and stewardship,
- empowerment of marginalized people and communities,
- community and collaboration, and
- health and healing for all creation.
Farming is crucial to the St. Louis economy, but the crops produced are mostly soybeans and corn rather than food that meets residents’ nutritional needs. Most produce comes from California, Mexico, Chile, or Canada. Some 60 percent of St. Louis residents are overweight or obese, and 66,000 people live in food deserts.
We’re striving to create a thriving local food community in the St. Louis area. Recognizing that healthy, locally and sustainably produced food will improve the local economy and residents’ health, we support projects that:
- Build capacity and collaboration to reduce poverty and to improve health, the local food situation, and the environment. Our partnerships help strengthen the organizational capacity of local food leaders and ensure that all have a voice.
- Increase demand for local and sustainable food. We support efforts that encourage institutional purchasers (like schools and health care systems) to buy locally and that allow everyone access to healthy, sustainable food and education about its benefits.
- Strengthen the local food supply chain. Small- and mid-size farmers struggle to produce and distribute healthy food at the scale needed to access wholesale markets. FSM supports efforts to promote a strong local food supply chain, filling gaps in infrastructure, ensuring farmers have access to the land they need and supporting local food entrepreneurs.