Massachusetts Food System Plan

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. 

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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.
Food System Diagram


Statewide Partnership

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.

Partner websites:

What's the Plan

During the next 18 months, 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 18-month process, roughly September 30, 2015, Massachusetts will have its first statewide food system plan since 1975. 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. Through the food system planning process, we will build upon the strengths and address the challenges of the Massachusetts food system.

Get Involved

As the planning process gets underway, food system stakeholders will have many opportunities to get involved in the Massachusetts Food System Plan. If you grow food, make food, or simply eat food, we are interested in your involvement!

For updates about the work being done on the Massachusetts Food System Plan and to learn about ways you can become involved, sign up for our newsletter by clicking the link below.

Register for updates

Upcoming Events:

November 5, 9:30-12:  Project Advisor Meeting, Center for EcoTechnology, Springfield

January 22, 9:30-12: Project Advisor Meeting, Location TBD 

Dates TBD: Regional Events covering Central and Western Massachusetts

Past Events: 

June 26, 10:30-1:30: Project Advisor Meeting, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester

September 10, 9-11:30am: Project Advisor Meeting, Collaborative Services Facility, Shrewsbury

October 6: Southeast Regional Forum, New Bedford | EVENT PHOTOS

Printable flyers: Spanish English

October 11: Boston Listening Session, Roxbury: Join us! 

October 15: Worcester Listening Session, Worcester: (Come back soon for RSVP info)

October 22: Northeast Regional Forum, Lawrence: Join us! 

Printable flyers: Spanish English

October 24: Food Day at the Massachusetts State House, Boston

Food System Posters



Production: Land and Commodities

Production on Land

Production at Sea



Food Access, Security and Health

Food Waste & Nutrient Recovery

Documents and Resources

Link to Municipal Food System Toolkit

Printable, one-page flyer of Massachusetts Food System Plan

Project Announcement, June 2, 2014

Draft Policy Topics

Draft Working Group Categories

Draft Project Advisor List

Draft Food System Events Inventory (2014-2015)

Call for Research Proposals (due August 12, 2014)


For more information, please contact Julie Conroy, Senior Environmental Planner / Project Manager or Heidi Stucker (