Model & Strategy
America does not have equal access to healthy food. Fresh, wholesome, high-quality food can and should be affordable to all communities. The high prevalence of chronic, diet-related illnesses, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, represents a public health crisis in both rural and urban communities.
With a mission to connect all communities with food from sustainable family farms, The Common Market scales regional food systems, connecting farmers to fair and transparent markets while democratizing the accessibility of good food for all people. Through 14 years of operations and $111 million of direct community economic investment, The Common Market has modeled the potential of vibrant, values-driven, regional food systems through their role as a nonprofit aggregator and distributor. The Common Market provides transportation services for small, sustainable farms via a fleet of refrigerated trucks and then aggregates the products in its warehouses. The primary beneficiaries of their work are low-income urban communities where food access scarcity and poor health are most prevalent due to historical and ongoing structural racism in the U.S. The organization seeks to establish sustainable, mutually-beneficial relationships that improve health and wealth for children and families.
The Common Market has extended from its original geography in the Philadelphia region to serve New York City, New Jersey, Baltimore, and Washington DC. In 2016, it established a new chapter in Atlanta that serves other cities in Georgia along with the Birmingham, AL metro area. In 2018, it established a chapter in Houston, TX, that has extended to the Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas metro areas along with the Rio Grande Valley. In 2021, conversations began in Chicago to explore opportunities for further expansion. The Common Market team is adept at building relationships between producers and customers in new cities. These relationships build and stabilize a sustainable, values-driven local food system and help The Common Market achieve their mission of connecting all communities with healthy food.
Haile received a B.S. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, served as a Food and Community Fellow with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and is the recent past Board Chair of the National Farm to School Network. After Tatiana finished her MBA at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, she and Haile founded the East Park Revitalization Alliance, a community organizing and advocacy group in North Philadelphia. This food sovereignty work led to the launch of The Common Market in 2008 to build regional farm-side relationships and connect infrastructure so that it would be possible to bring farm fresh food to the communities that need it the most—including their own.
Under Tatiana and Haile’s leadership, The Common Market has developed an innovative solution to deep problems in the food system by creating a mutually beneficial link between family farmers and urban communities. Organized as a non-profit local “food hub,” it has become a nationally recognized model for successfully connecting family farms to communities.
The Common Market has delivered more than $81M of local fruits, vegetables, dairy, eggs, meat, grains, and grocery items to customers since its founding.
The Common Market has delivered food from over 200 small and mid-sized farms to nearly 800 public and private schools, hospitals, eldercare facilities, universities, grocers, workplaces, community organizations, and restaurants.
The Common Market and its vendors support more than 3,100 urban and rural jobs and steward more than 24,000 acres of land. In 2022, the organization surpassed $111M of direct investment in the communities where it works.