nextlevel events

The Essex County Food Ecosystem: A NextLevel Hackathon

Sept. 16. 2022 | 6-9pm | New Entry Sustainable Farm, Beverly

Emmy Award winning host and chef Anna Rossi joins ECCF to “hack” the food ecosystem

Join like-minded peers for a fun evening of high-energy collaboration aimed at addressing the challenges in our local food ecosystem. ECCF wants you to be a part of the systems work that supports residents facing food insecurity in Essex County.

State of the Essex County Food Ecosystem

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck Essex County, area nonprofits working to nourish residents facing food insecurity were among the first in the sector to feel its impacts. Heavily dependent on volunteers, food pantries found themselves short-staffed as helpers – made up largely of virus-vulnerable seniors – were forced to stay home while outside, food lines grew.

According to a recent Feeding America report, Massachusetts saw a 59% increase in food insecurity due to the pandemic, the greatest percentage increase in the country.

Skyrocketing unemployment meant more people were going hungry. That, combined with a massive breakdown in the food supply chain and social distancing guidelines, forced hunger organizations not only to do more with less, but also to radically shift traditional operations to try and keep pace in a region where 40% of residents were already living below the living wage.

The impact of COVID-19 on food insecurity is a wake-up call, one that must be answered with significant investments that focus on Essex County’s entire food system and the interconnectedness between its many stakeholders. We believe that this is the only way to create an ecosystem that is sustainable, resilient and equitable.

We need your help to create long-term solutions

We welcome leaders in the food space, legislators and philanthropic and for-profit stakeholders who are interested in thinking outside the box in a collaborative and innovative design-thinking framework.

During this fun-filled evening, we will

    • Enjoy locally sourced food and cocktails catered by Salem’s own Root North Shore.
    • Meet leading food organizations and learn about the state of the Essex County food ecosystem.
    • Hear from four active food systems about their work and specific challenges and opportunities.
    • Engage in small groups for a high-energy design thinking challenge.

    Why? Because ECCF and NextGen members believe that authentic and sustainable changemaking happens when we open up the table to include diverse perspectives.

    We hope you will join us at our first NextLevel event to help lift up solutions to one of Essex County’s greatest challenges!

    get in touch

    Carol Lavoie Schuster headshot

    Carol Lavoie Schuster

    Vice President for Grants and Services
    (978) 777-8876 x133

    Patti McCullough

    Nonprofit Services Associate
    (978) 777-8876 x137

    how can we help?

    We would love to hear from you.

    ECCF Logo in White Overlay


    1. 175 Andover Street, Suite 101
      Danvers, Massachusetts 01923