The American Planning Association published a new report that outlines the results of a three-year, multi-phased research study that identified and evaluated the food access and food system components of local government plans in the U.S.
Planning for Food Access and Community-Based Food Systems: A National Scan and Evaluation of Local Comprehensive and Sustainability Plans is a free, 175-page report that is divided into four main sections and provides detailed results and analyses for each phase of the study:
Section 1: National Survey
The survey identified 80 comprehensive plans and 25 sustainability plans that explicitly addressed an aspect of local or regional food systems. The five most-cited food system topics in the identified comprehensive and sustainability plans were rural agriculture, food access and availability, urban agriculture, food retail, and food waste.
Section 2: Plan Evaluations
A sample of plans (13 comprehensive plans and 8 sustainability plans) was selected for in-depth plan evaluation. Plans were evaluated for how they support and advance principles of a healthy, sustainable food system; how they promote access to safe, nutritious, affordable, culturally appropriate, and sustainably grown food; how they address implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the food-related goals and policies; and the overall quality of food-related goals and policies.
Section 3: Case Studies
The research team conducted and recorded semi-structured, key informant phone interviews with local government planners and other stakeholders from 15 of the 21 selected plans to learn more about the food access and food systems planning process.
Section 4: Recommendations and Sample Plan Language
The final section of the report provides recommendations for municipalities and counties that are engaging in (or beginning to engage in) food access and food systems planning; sample plan language of food systems related vision statements, goals, policies, action items and implementation mechanisms; as well as data collection and assessment tools to monitor and evaluate changes in the local food system over time.
This summer, the American Planning Association will publish a policy report that outlines the results of a 3-year research study of how local governments in the U.S. are planning for food access and the greater community-based food system.
Of a sample of 888 local governments across the U.S., the study identified 105 jurisdictions that explicitly addressed food access and other food systems issues in their comprehensive or sustainability plan. The top most-cited food system strategies included:
- preserving rural agricultural land;
- supporting new opportunities for the agricultural production of produce;
- improving access to farmers markets and community gardens; and
- supporting new opportunities for urban agriculture.
For more information about this study and a summary of results, click here.
BC Food Systems Network 14th Annual Gathering
Mark your calendars…this July 5-8, 2012, the BC Food Systems Network will be hosting their annual gathering at Camp Fircom on Gambier Island (just outside Vancouver, British Columbia). The focus of this annual gathering will be policy and practice. From workshops and presentations, to a wide range of structured and unstructured activities, the gathering aims to bring people together from across British Columbia, and beyond, to share and learn from one another about how to create healthy, more sustainable food systems.
Historically in the United States, discussions about urban agriculture have focused primarily on private gardens and community gardens. Today, urban agriculture is much more than private gardens and community gardens, and many communities are beginning to see the promise of other forms of urban agriculture. In addition to producing fruits and vegetables for home consumption, the definition and vision of urban agriculture is expanding to include not only growing plants and raising animals for consumption, but also the processing, distribution, marketing and sale of food products and food by-products, such as compost. A more holistic systems definition acknowledges the intimate connection between urban agriculture and the larger food system, as well as its influence and dependency on a variety of economic, environmental and social resources.
This new report (authored by Cultivating Healthy Places‘ founder, Kimberley Hodgson, and published by the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities) explores how foundations are supporting and encouraging urban agriculture as a public health, social enterprise, environmental stewardship, and/or economic development strategy. For the full report, click here.