Food Security for America (FSA) began in 2010 as a program of Georgia Avenue Community Ministry (GACM), which operates the model at a church in inner-city Atlanta. FSA was created to expand the program beyond this Grant Park neighborhood. Today FSA operates mobile FANN programs remotely at sponsors’ sites in Georgia and trains other organizations around the country how to start and run their own FANNs. In 2012 FSA became a separate 501 (c) 3 non-profit, faith-based organization.
The Atlanta Community Food Bank is responsible for introducing and encouraging the FANN model in Atlanta. They heard about the program in the 1990’s and asked a trusted partner agency, GACM, and its founder, Rev. Chad Hale, to go beyond an emergency food pantry with this innovation that would provide actual food security as well as establish community.By the economic recession in 2008 GACM had five “low-income food co-ops” meeting at different times. Many other organizations began asking how to start their own “food co-op”. A few years later Dr. Bob Lupton wrote Toxic Charity, which references the program as a positive example. The growing need for an alternative to traditional food pantries and the continued popularity of Toxic Charity have brought national attention to FSA.
As attention spread outside Atlanta, many people found the terms “low-income food co-operative” and “food co-op” misleading. FSA changed the program name to Friends and Neighbors Network (FANN) to accurately reflect the strong and nurturing relationships that are developed through regularly meeting, exchanging critical information, and sharing the ups and downs of life together.