Thursday, February 10, 2011

New DVRPC Report on Food Sustainability

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission has released a new report called Eating Here: Greater Philadelphia's Food System Plan. The full 124 page pdf report is available online or you can pay $10.00 for a printed copy.

According to the abstract:

Food, a good produced, consumed, and shipped throughout our region, is a major component our region's transportation, land use, energy, and environmental systems. DVRPC's Eating Here: Greater Philadelphia's Food System Plan will identify a set of shared values and goals, key indicators, and recommendations for a more sustainable food system.

Through the plan, DVRPC and the Greater Philadelphia Food System Stakeholder Committee will seek to:

* Support local agriculture and grow the local food economy while improving profitability for farmers.
* Protect the environment.
* Ensure safety, security, and healthfulness of food and the food supply.
* Improve nutrition and reduce obesity and preventable diseases.
* Ensure residents of the region have access to enough nutritious food to eat.
* Encourage collaboration between individuals, organizations, and government agencies.

The plan follows ups on the Commission's first phase of food system planning, the Greater Philadelphia Food System Study, a large surveying effort and analysis that identified prominent stakeholders, successful programs, regional competitive advantages, recommendations for improvement, and differing interests.

The executive summary lists the following conclusions, which are expanded upon in the text of the report:
Access to affordable farmland: Maintain affordable land for farmers through a range of potential innovations and
new business models. These include addressing the retirement needs of farmers, identifying opportunities to transition preserved land into food production, and creating investment vehicles for long-term agricultural production on preserved land.

Natural resource protection through markets: Develop technical assistance programs or market-based solutions that enable farmers to protect natural resources. Agricultural enterprise development: Create or expand new and specialized programs to reduce the barriers of entry for new food entrepreneurs and new, beginning, and minority farmers, and encourage value-added activities. Examples include training programs and revolving loan, micro-loan, and low-interest loan funds.

Healthy food awareness and access: Promote the use of new technology and community-based communication outlets by all partners—government, private sector, and nonprofits—to educate people about healthy food.

School system solutions: Integrate all aspects of Farm to School programs into a robust and comprehensive education program.

Regional convening and increased collaboration: Continue to convene the Greater Philadelphia Food System Stakeholder Committee and encourage shared efforts.

Implementing the numerous recommendations included in this plan will take the dedicated efforts of many actors within the Greater Philadelphia Food System. The award of several Greater Philadelphia Food System Implementation Grants1 to a number of collaborative efforts has begun to transform several of these recommendations into reality, but more work remains to be done, and each participant in the Greater Philadelphia Food System has a role to play—from those businesses and organizations that actively participate in the food system to those individuals eating here.

I haven't read the full report yet but it looks interesting

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