Community Food Lab is a hybrid design practice inventing new approaches to healthy food systems.

a hybrid design practice: we do things, we make things, and we think about things. our design approach is multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary. our activities are interconnected around social responsibility and a 'whole systems' model of change.

healthy food systems provide everyone access to good food, support vibrant local economies, and are designed for resilience and sustainability of people and the planet. a healthy food system can be the same as a 'local' food system, but not always. relationships and diversity are key factors in assessing the health of a food system.

We help organizations create impact and change by solving the challenges of our food systems, and by using food system solutions to achieve their goals. Healthy food systems are good for community and good for business.


Community Food Lab works with municipalities, institutions, nonprofits, developers, corporations, design firms and individuals.

In our typical roles we work as consultant, contractor, grant collaborator, and food systems specialist.

When building healthy local food systems, communities and organizations need something beyond solutions; they need innovative approaches that are adaptive and flexible. Community Food Lab takes an individualized approach to uncover the best methods for your situation and region, recognizing that each project and client are highly place-based. 

Our services include

out-of-the-box creative thinking,

collaborative planning and strategy,

energetic community engagement,

human-centered design thinking, 

urban design and placemaking +

pragmatic food system problem solving.

We work from the sidewalk and community level all the way up to the municipal and regional level, and we understand how policies and projects at different scales affect each other. This allows us to help our clients rethink their relationships to food, and opens opportunities to provide smart new approaches for healthy food systems.

We take on select new projects as time allows. Contact us with questions and to schedule an initial consultation.

Working with Community Food Lab is amazing. Creative, detailed, intelligent, practical, timely are descriptive of the process and product. This is a winning partnership.
— Peter Skillern, Executive Director at Reinvestment Partners
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Smart policy and advocacy is needed to support our healthy food systems, and our whole systems approach embraces the complex connections between policy, implementation, and outcomes through the entire food system.

Our view of a healthy, mostly local food system. The system relies on many diverse interconnected parts that drive a network of social and economic relationships. These relationships build strong communities.

Featured projects

Community Food Lab in the news

  • News and Observer, June 2015. Erin White's work with the Capital Area Food Network is featured.
  • Planning Magazine, American Planning Association, February 2015. The Raleigh Food Corridor.
  • News and Observer, November 2014. Erin White is Tarheel of the Week.
  • The Independent, June 2014. Profile of the Raleigh Food Corridor
  • Food Tank, December 2013. Community Food Lab and design thinking.

Join our community

Relationships drive our work. They allow for shared learning, ongoing inspiration, and enable each of us to address community challenges in a more comprehensive and effective way. We know a strong social network is an essential part of any healthy local food ecosystem, and that nothing happens in isolation.

Community Food Lab is always looking for broader and deeper relationships with our community partners. Where do we overlap in our work? How can we help each other grow? Where are the opportunities for added impact together? If you're involved in building community we want to get to know you; join our mailing list to stay up to date on our efforts, or send us an email about your projects.


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