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 Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and the Massachusetts Food Policy Council have 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

MAPC will lead the development of the food plan, and will work closely with two other regional planning agencies, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, the Franklin Region Council of Governments, and the Massachusetts Workforce Alliance, a workforce development nonprofit). With their combined experience in public engagement, planning, and economic development, the project team will guide the Commonwealth through the Massachusetts Food System Plan process.

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What's the Plan

During the next 18 months, the project team will work with Massachusetts residents and food system experts, including producers, business owners, and food system stakeholders, 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 well as overarching areas such as employment opportunities, public health, and regional collaboration.

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 goals of 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, Massachusetts will have its first statewide food system plan that establishes a comprehensive vision for the food system and includes 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 of losing farmland to development, and experiences 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, Massachusetts residents and 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.

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Documents

Printable, one-page flyer of Massachusetts Food System Plan

Project Announcement, June 2, 2014

Communications Plan Draft

Potential Research Topics Draft

Questions

For more information, please contact Julie Conroy, Senior Environmental Planner / Project Manager (massfoodplan@mapc.org).