Massachusetts Food System Plan
The Massachusetts Food System Plan will establish a vision for a food system that is socially just, environmentally resilient, and ripe with economic opportunities.
See our new website for the most updated information and ways to get involved.
About the Project
Massachusetts has a rich and diverse food system – from varied agriculture, to innovative food processing facilities, to initiatives to improve the health and affordability of food in our communities.
In order to further strengthen the way we harvest, process, and obtain our food, the Massachusetts Food Policy Council initiated a process to craft a statewide Food System Plan that ties together the many elements of the Massachusetts food system. The process of creating the plan will involve identifying gaps, gathering public input, and finally crafting an actionable plan to make our food system serve our needs even better.The food system is made up of every part of the process that puts food on our tables—from seed to plate.
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), as the project fiduciary and liaison to the FPC, has contracted with MAPC to lead the food planning process. MAPC is working closely with its project partners: Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, the Franklin Region Council of Governments, and the Massachusetts Workforce Alliance. With our combined experience in food systems planning, public engagement, and economic development, the project team and its sister Regional Planning Agencies will guide the Commonwealth through the developement of the Massachusetts Food System Plan.
- Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
- Franklin Regional Council of Governments
- Massachusetts Workforce Alliance
What's the Plan?
Through December 2015, the project team will work with food system experts, including producers, business owners, food system stakeholders, and consumers to conduct a comprehensive assessment that identifies the current strengths of the Commonwealth's food system and opportunities for improvement. The project will look at all components of the food system (as shown above), as well as overarching areas, such as employment opportunities, public health improvements, and climate resiliency.
The plan will be developed in both a statewide and New England regional context. With a focus on strengthening the food system within Massachusetts, the plan will complement food system planning efforts underway in neighboring states and New England as a whole.
At the end of the planning process, Massachusetts will have its first statewide food system plan since 1974. The plan will establish a comprehensive vision for the food system, and will include specific goals and an action plan to make the vision reality.
Why it's Important
The Massachusetts food system is vibrant in many ways, but the state also faces challenges. Local food production and markets are incredibly successful in Massachusetts, and are contributing to farm viability and improving access to healthy food. At the same time, Massachusetts also deals with challenges, such as losing farmland to development and high rates of obesity and diabetes. These are examples of the topics we're examining. Through the food system planning process, we will identify strategies for building upon the strengths and address the challenges of the Massachusetts food system.
The planning process is underway and there are several ways to get involved. If you grow food, make food, or simply eat food, we are interested in your involvement!
Please visit our new website to find opportunities to get involved in working groups, participate in regional forums, and join in our online discussion.
Resources and Documents
Food System Analysis
The following posters analyze various components of the food system.
Production on Land
Production at Sea
For more information, please contact Heidi Stucker, MAPC Food System Planner.