Food Equity Policy Lead
Job Details
Full Time
4 Year Degree
Nonprofit - Social Services

Take the next step in your career with Greater Chicago Food Depository by joining a team committed to ending hunger in our community. Every day, we distribute food through our network of partner agencies and programs, including mobile distributions and responses for children, older adults and veterans. We are seeking to add a Food Equity Policy Lead to our team. This role will work heavily with Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Mayor's Office. Additionally, the position will sit at both the Mayor's Office and our Greater Chicago Food Depository offices in Archer Heights.


General Description: Many Chicagoans cope with food insecurity, lack of access to quality, affordable food retail and have not benefitted from the economic infrastructure to sustain a strong local food system.  The pandemic and racial inequities have greatly exacerbated these difficulties which further demonstrates why Chicago’s food system must transform. From emergency food to local procurement and processing to employment and entrepreneurship there is an opportunity to advance every aspect of our food system.


The ambition of creating an equitable food system requires innovation, expertise, and leadership from both the public and private sector. To that end, the Food Equity Policy Lead will drive collaboration between the City of Chicago, the Food Depository, and other members of the City’s Food Equity Council to advance policy innovations and programmatic efficiencies to create a more equitable, resilient and just food system.


Through cross-sector collaboration and advocacy, this role seeks to promote a food system that emphasizes health, equity, food security, and the environment. Although the Food Depository will be the fiscal agent and sponsor for this role, the position will operate as a member of the Mayor’s Office Policy team. The position will report jointly to the Food Depository and the Mayor’s office and will spend time in the offices of both organizations.


Key Responsibilities and Essential Functions:

  • Serve as the primary project manager to lead and facilitate the work of the Food Equity Council through the advancement of a strategic plan to realize a city-wide vision to build a more just and equitable food system.
  • Drive interagency input, alignment, accountability, and delivery of the plan, while serving as the liaison among the Mayor’s Office, key city departments, sister agencies, the Food Depository, and the broader community of stakeholders committed to improving public policies that impact food systems.
  • Advance food policy priorities as established by the Mayor’s Office in coordination with food system stakeholders. Policy priorities will primarily focus on local level opportunities, with some state and federal opportunities. These priorities include: marketing and maximizing enrollment in federal nutrition programs, like SNAP; removing barriers to food pantry expansion in neighborhoods with greatest need; leveraging City and institutional procurement to support local BIPOC growers and producers; removing barriers to urban agriculture and farming; supporting BIPOC food businesses and entrepreneurs, including improving access to capital.
  • Regularly seek out innovative and best practices in applicable planning and related fields and incorporate them into Chicago’s food policy agenda by collaborating with local and national experts, researchers, and community leaders.
  • In partnership with relevant City departments and members of the Food Equity Council, implement, coordinate and monitor food-related policies, programs, and initiatives across the City.
  • Establish annual goals, outcome metrics, plans, processes, timelines, and assessment and reporting mechanisms for tracking citywide progress on food equity and justice.
  • Produce memos, reports, presentations, and other written materials as needed to engage and inform stakeholders and summarize progress in implementing programs and initiatives for internal City stakeholders as well as community and other external audiences.
  • Other responsibilities related to building a just food system as assigned.




  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s Degree, graduate level work or equivalent experience in public policy, social work, public health, urban planning, or a related field is preferred.
  • Minimum of 10 years of work experience with a proven track record in public policy, state government administration, and/or program management.
  • Understanding of City of Chicago operations and government agency relations, including how policy solutions are advanced. Direct experience working in city government preferred.
  • Understanding of the complexities and intersectionality of health, equity, food security, and the environment required. Community-level understanding of food systems issues preferred.
  • Strategic understanding of the landscape of public, nonprofit, and private partners needed to inform and advance new policy and programmatic innovations related to food systems. Strong networking skills and excellent collaboration traits with proven experience in building and managing effective relationships and partnerships.
  • Demonstrable experience in developing and implementing strategic plans in the private, government, or nonprofit sectors.
  • Action-oriented, entrepreneurial leader with significant creative capacity and flexibility.
  • Superior strategist, with robust analytical/problem solving skills, organizational agility, political savvy, strong interpersonal judgment, and the ability to manage high levels of ambiguity.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills (both verbal and written), including strong presentation skills and emotional intelligence.
  • Outstanding record of generating buy-in from internal and external stakeholders.
  • Ability to manage complex projects effectively and efficiently and who can be highly successful with minimal supervision.
  • Proficiency in MS Office-Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Outlook.



  • Office located at the Food Depository with additional office space at Mayor’s Office.
  • Normal office environment; some warehouse environment
  • Significant out of office meetings
  • Primary interactions with the Mayor’s Office and city agencies; nonprofit, private sector, and community leaders