Planning for Food Access and Community-Based Food Systems

A National Scan and Evaluation of Local Comprehensive and Sustainability Plans

By Kimberley Hodgson, AICP

Publication

Download


Access to safe and nutritious food is considered a basic individual right by the World Health Organization and the United Nations. However, many residents in low-income neighborhoods — both rural and urban — have limited access to fresh produce and other healthful foods.

While food deserts (geographic areas marked by limited healthy food options) and swamps (geographic areas marked by high densities of unhealthy food options) are prominent aspects of a failure in food access, they do not tell the complete story. Public health strategies are lost without an awareness of the food system — or the interlinked network of processes, actors, resources, and policy and regulatory tools required to produce, process, distribute, access, consume, and dispose of food — and its connection to other urban systems (such as land, housing, transportation, parks and recreation, etc.). Recent research has begun to examine food access more comprehensively, taking into account the nuances of place, people, and policy that interact and reinforce each other.

As a result, food access is not simply a health issue but also a community development and equity issue. For this reason, access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food is a key component not only in a healthy, sustainable local food system, but also in a healthy, sustainable community.


Details

Page Count
175
Date Published
Nov. 1, 2012
Format
Adobe PDF
Publisher
None

About the Author

Kimberley Hodgson, AICP
Kimberley Hodgson, MURP, MS, AICP, RD is the founder of Cultivating Healthy Places, an international consulting business specializing in community health, social equity and sustainable food systems planning. As a certified planner and health professional, her work focuses on conducting policy-relevant research and providing technical assistance to the public and private sectors related to the design and development of healthy, sustainable places. Hodgson served as co-investigator of a $3.96 million grant awarded to the University at Buffalo by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Food Systems Program. The project, Growing Food Connections, generated knowledge about the effectiveness of local and regional government policies in improving food security in underserved communities, strengthening the resilience of rural communities, and supporting the economic viability of food production. She is the author of Planning for Food Access and Community-Based Food Systems and co-author of Urban Agriculture: Growing Healthy Sustainable Places. Ms. Hodgson holds an undergraduate degree from New York University in pre-medicine, a Master of Science in food policy and applied nutrition from Tufts University, and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning with a specialization in community health and sustainability from Virginia Tech.

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

INTRODUCTION
Defining Food Security and Food Access
Food Deserts, Swamps, and Hinterlands and Sovereignty
An Urban and a Rural Issue
Food Access is a Systems Problem, Not a Sector Problem
Planning for Food Access
Addressing Food Access Through Comprehensive and Sustainability Plans

PART 1: THE NATIONAL SURVEY
Survey Respondents
Results of the Survey
Planning for Food
Food Policy Council
Food System Topics
Strategies to Improve Food Access and Support Community-Based Food Systems
Location of the Food System Components in the Plan
Data and Data Collection Tools
Stakeholder Involvement
Successes and Challenges
Impact of the Plan on the Local Food System
Conclusion

PART 2: PLAN EVALUATION
Methodology
Sample Selection
Comprehensive Plans: Characteristics of Selected Jurisdictions
Sustainability Plans: Characteristics of Selected Jurisdictions
Plan Evaluation Method
Results
General Plan Characteristics
Implementation
Evaluation and Monitoring
Food Access Sector Score
Food System Score
Food Language Quality Score
Implementation and Evaluation Scores
Overall Score
Conclusion

PART 3: THE PLANNING PROCESS
Plan Development and Participation
Nongovernmental Organizations
Political Support
Local Health Department
Other Local Government Departments and Work Groups
Philanthropic Organizations
Assessment of Existing Conditions
Other Plans, Policies, Programs, and Projects
Plan Adoption
Plan Implementation
Plan Evaluation
Plan Impact
Lessons Learned
Conclusion

PART 4: DISCUSSION, RECOMMENDATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
Planning for Food Access and the Community-Based Food System: 10 Key Recommendations
Opportunities for Future Research and Next Steps

CONCLUSION

REFERENCES

LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES

APPENDICES
Appendix A Regional geographic breakdown of all the adopted comprehensive and sustainability plans
Appendix B1 Adopted Comprehensive Plans: Food System Topics
Appendix B2 Adopted Sustainability Plans: Food System Topics
Appendix C1 Adopted Comprehensive Plans: Food System Strategies
Appendix C2 Adopted Sustainability Plans: Food System Strategies
Appendix D Food System Metrics
Appendix E Marin Countywide Plan
Appendix F Baltimore Sustainability Plan
Appendix G Greenworks Philadelphia
Appendix H San Francisco Sustainability Plan
Appendix I Key Informant Interview Questions
Appendix J Examples of Plan Language
Appendix K Examples of Plan Implementation Strategies
Appendix L Examples of Plan Evaluation and Monitoring Strategies