NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — Today American Farmland Trust and Growing Food Connections announced the publication of GROWING LOCAL: A Community Guide to Planning for Agriculture and Food Systems. The national guide showcases ways communities can strengthen their food systems through planning, policy and public investment. It includes the most comprehensive collection of local policies ever assembled to support local farms and ranches, improve access to healthy food, and develop needed distribution and infrastructure. Written for farmers, community residents and food policy councils, as well as planners and local government officials, this practical guide highlights real life examples of ways communities are growing food connections from field to fork.
“Across the country and in multiple ways, communities are developing their food economies,” Julia Freedgood, assistant vice president of programs for American Farmland Trust, said. “Every place is unique and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. So we wanted to share the many creative approaches being used by communities to achieve their goals.”
“GROWING LOCAL” builds off the work of Growing Food Connections, a five-year USDA funded project to enhance community food security while ensuring sustainable and economically viable agriculture and food production. Based on lessons learned from the project, this new guide provides an overview of food system issues, explains key terms, and shares principles and practices to inform community efforts to support local farms, develop needed infrastructure, and provide all community residents with access to healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate food.
“GROWING LOCAL is an excellent resource, sharing successful policies and approaches to food systems development from across the country,” said David Rouse, managing director of research and advisory services for the American Planning Association. “It identifies key places in the planning process where a community can address the viability of local farms and improve healthy food access—from civic engagement, to visioning and goal setting, to developing solutions to grow its economy and the well-being of its residents.”
An electronic copy of the guide is available for free download at American Farmland Trust’s Farmland Information Center. Print versions of “GROWING LOCAL” also are available for sale. For information on purchasing, please contact Peggy McCabe at email@example.com.
Growing Food Connections was made possible with a grant from the USDA/NIFA AFRI Food Systems Program NIFA Award # 2012-68004-19894. Lead organizations include American Farmland Trust, University of Buffalo, Cultivating Healthy Places and Ohio State University, supported by key partners including the American Planning Association and a national advisory committee of food system leaders.
To learn more about Growing Food Connections and its research, education and extension activities, visit: http://
—American Farmland Trust
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