FIG is seeking local partners for Houston 2020!


FIG is coming to Houston for the National Planning Conference, April 25-28. We will have a special announcement to celebrate, and are hoping to find a few local partners that can help us plan our annual reception.

We are seeking:

  • A great venue: Memorable, perhaps unconventional, and a bonus if it features the food system in some way (e.g. a community garden or urban farm); walkable or easily accessible via public transit from the George R. Brown Convention Center
  • Amazing food: delicious, healthy, locally-sourced, creative.
  • Local partners: a few individuals and/or organizations that can be our “boots on the ground” in the lead up to the conference.

Please send venue/food suggestions and indicate any interest in partnering to: Ben Kerrick,

APA-FIG is becoming an official APA division!

Hooray! Thanks to your support, we’ve reached the required 300 signatures and are on to the next step in our quest to become an official division of the APA. Next, the Executive Committee of the Divisions Council is reviewing our proposed organizational structure, budget, and bylaws and will make a recommendation to the full Divisions Council. We anticipate that will be in January 2020.

Next, the Divisions Council will make a formal recommendation to the APA Board, who, in turn, will vote to approve APA Food Systems Division – the first new Division in four years. If all goes well, we hope to have official approval and celebrate at the APA National Conference in Houston in April 2020.

Look for updates along the way and thanks again for your support!

APA FOOD Leadership Committee

Help FIG get the final 20 signatures to become an official APA Division!

We need less than 20 signatures to complete our application to become an APA division! Please add your name to this petition and share with others. It just takes 1 minute to be part of making food systems planning recognized as a core area of the planning profession!

Thanks for your support!

APA-FIG Leadership Committee

Careers in Food Systems Planning Webinar

Curious about food systems planning? Join members of APA’s Food Systems Interest Group (APA FIG) and other practicing planners to learn more about working in food systems planning and policy development. The September 18 (11-12pm PDT) free webinar highlights how planners in the private, public and nonprofit sectors are actively working on food policy topics, including urban agriculture, economic development, health equity, food access, and/or waste issues as part of their day-to-day jobs. After participating in the webinar participants will be able to:

• Identify different career options in food systems planning.

• Understand the qualifications necessary for the job.

• Learn about day-to-day work activities.

To register, click here.

For a preview of what will be discussed check out APA’s latest blog post – “Food Systems Planning, With or Without a Planner Title.”

Help FIG get the final 50 signatures to become an APA Division!

Thanks for joining us in San Francisco for APA’s national planning conference. It was great to catch up with old friends and meet new faces working to advance food systems planning.

We’re thrilled we were able to collect over 100 signatures for our petition to become an official division of the American Planning Association. Food is a sustaining and enduring necessity. Yet among the basic essentials for life — air, water, shelter, and food — only food has been absent as a focus of serious professional planning.

We need only 50 more signatures to complete our application, so please add your name here: and help make food systems planning recognized as a core area of the planning profession!

And please pass the link on to your friends and colleagues and help us gather the last 50 signatures.

Thanks for your support!

APA-FIG Leadership Committee

We hope to see you at the National Planning Conference!


Heading to the National Planning Conference in a few weeks? APA-FIG will be co-hosting a reception with the Healthy Communities Collaborative. Come and network with other planners and learn about FIG’s efforts to become an official APA Division (please sign our petition). Interested in learning more about food systems planning? Check out all of the food focused sessions.

Farm Bill Listening Session – March 14

USDA Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley today announced that on Thursday, March 14, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. EDT, USDA Rural Development will conduct a listening session webinar to listen to questions and comments from the partners, stakeholders and customers who will be affected by the implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Topics will include new tools in the 2018 Farm Bill to increase access to rural broadband e-Connectivity, expanding credit to rural communities, and other key provisions relating to USDA Rural Development programs.

Registration is required to participate. A registration link can be found at The deadline for registration is 3 p.m. EDT Wednesday, March 13.

Interested parties unable to participate in the listening session may submit comments on the 2018 Farm Bill to USDA Rural Development through March 30, 2019, via email to

Nominate a Regional Plan that Addresses Food Systems by March 15

gfcCalling all food system planners, policy makers, scholars, and practitioners!

Is your community engaging in regional-level planning that impacts food systems in the United States?  If so, your policy could be featured in the Growing Food Connections policy database!

The Local and Regional Government Policy Database, which is maintained by the Growing Food Connections team, is a searchable collection of about 200 local government policies that impact community food systems. This database provides policymakers, government staff, and community advocates interested in food policy with concrete examples of adopted/implemented local and regional public policies that address a range of food systems issues: rural and urban food production, farmland protection, transfer of development rights, food aggregation and distribution infrastructure, food policy councils, healthy food access, and more. Local and regional governments interested in developing or implementing food systems policies turn to this database as an important resource.

This month (March) Growing Food Connections scanning the country to identify regional plans that impact food systems. These plans can be regional-scale transportation plans, regional-scale sustainability plans, or really, any sort of regional plans that aim to strengthen a region’s food system.

Do you know of a regional plan that should be showcased? Nominations are being accepted until March 15, 2019. We are especially interested in regional plans within the United States, published between 2012 and 2018.  A select number of regional plans will be showcased as a feature story on the Growing Food Connections website (and also drawn to the attention of researchers, practitioners, and students).

Nominating your regional plan is easy! Send a pdf copy or weblink to by Friday, March 15, 2019. Sooner is better!

Growing Food Connections is a federally-seeded project led by Dr. Samina Raja at the UB Food Lab, in partnership with Cultivating Healthy Places, Ohio State University, American Farmland Trust, and the American Planning Association. GFC is an action-research project integrates research, education, and planning and policy to strengthen community food systems. The Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab, a research group led by Dr. Samina Raja, housed in UB’s School of Architecture and Planning, is dedicated to research that critically examines the role of local government policy in facilitating equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities.  The Food Lab’s research unfolds in collaboration with other research groups within and outside UB, as well as in partnership with community and planning organizations and local governments in the United States and globally.

New Guide on Leveraging Underutilized Kitchens to Support Entrepreneurs


Greater awareness of the challenges food entrepreneurs and producers face in finding affordable commercial kitchen space has many communities studying ways to expand kitchen access. Opening Community Facilities to Food Entrepreneurs: Guidance for Communities and Facility Operators is a new resource that explains how to leverage underutilized kitchens in community buildings to help meet this need.

Communities that lack the entrepreneurial demand or capital funding for a new shared kitchen or business incubator often turn to existing kitchens in community buildings as an alternative. Renting out kitchens in places of worship, community halls, event centers, and educational buildings to entrepreneurs can help support local food economies and generate income for community-serving buildings and programs.

Renting kitchens designed for other purposes and housed in buildings with other primary uses involves special management and regulatory considerations. Among these are the suitability of the kitchen, regulatory requirements, compatibility between uses, and the capacity of the organization to manage rentals. Opening Community Facilities to Food Entrepreneurs: Guidance for Communities and Facility Operators tackles these concerns and offers guidance for facilities and communities weighing this option. It provides planners and other stakeholders with an overview of the benefits and limitations of utilizing existing kitchens and highlights Kitchen Connect programs and other strategies for expanding kitchen access. The guide also offers practical advice for facilities interested in launching a kitchen rental program, including key steps to take and descriptions of various management approaches.

Opening Community Facilities to Food Entrepreneurs is a free downloadable pdf published by Purdue University Extension in collaboration with Fruition Planning & Management thanks to funding from USDA North Central SARE.

PS. If you haven’t yet, please sign our petition for APA Division status. It will only take  a minute! Sign here and get us closer to our goal of 300 signatures!

Help APA-FIG become an APA Division!

APA-FIG is still actively pursuing Division status with APA. Many of you may have already signed our division petition, but unfortunately, the tracking sheet did not accurately capture the signatures in support. Please revisit our petition, add your name, and help us get the 300 pledges we need to get food systems planning a seat at the table.

Thanks and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2019!

The APA-FIG Leadership Committee