Growing Local: Strengthening Food Systems Through Planning and Policy


Local governments are becoming increasingly involved in planning and policy making for community food systems, both as leaders and as partners with the private sector. Often responding to community pressure, in some cases they are the driving force, motivated by a desire to strengthen local economies, improve food security and nutritional outcomes, and to support agriculture and preserve farmland…

For the entire blog post, check out the American Planning Association’s website here.

Exploring Stories of Food Systems Planning and Policy Innovation


Growing Food Connections is excited to announce the addition of 5 free publications to the Exploring Stories of Innovation series, a series of short articles that explore how local governments from across the United States are strengthening their community’s food system through planning and policy. These include:

Beginning in 2012, Growing Food Connections (GFC) conducted a national scan and identified 299 local governments across the United States that are developing and implementing a range of innovative plans, public programs, regulations, laws, financial investments and other policies to strengthen the food system. GFC conducted exploratory telephone interviews with 20 of these local governments. This series highlights some of the unique planning and policy strategies used by some of these urban and rural local governments to enhance community food security while ensuring sustainable and economically viable agriculture and food production. The first four articles in the series featured:

For more information and to download these free publications, visit

Growing Food Connections is supported by Agriculture and Food Research initiative Competitive Grant no. 2012-68004-19894 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Job Posting: Growing Food Connections Community Outreach Coordinator

American Farmland Trust (AFT) seeks an energetic self-starter to coordinate extension and outreach to help local governments build capacity to plan for food and agriculture and develop public policies to strengthen community food systems.

AFT is the nation’s leading national organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound stewardship and keeping farmers on the land. The Community Outreach Coordinator will support AFT’s partnership in a USDA-funded integrated research, education and extension project called Growing Food Connections (GFC). The Coordinator’s primary responsibilities will be to coordinate and deliver training and technical assistance to eight counties across the United States.

The ideal candidate will have a background in land use or community planning, sustainable agriculture, food systems and public policy at the local government level. S/he will have a passion for community engagement, excellent listening, communication and interpersonal skills, experience working with diverse populations, and demonstrated ability to work both independently and collaboratively as part of closely knit team. Strong computer skills and an ability to coordinate multiple people, partners and deliverables is essential.

The Coordinator will report directly to AFT’s Assistant Vice President of Programs and work closely with other project staff within AFT and with GFC partner organizations. The position is full time and based out of AFT’s Northampton, Mass. Office. Extensive travel is required.

For more information and details on how to apply, click here.

New Food Policy Database


Growing Food Connections, a federally-funded research initiative to strengthen community food systems nationwide, recently released a database with over 100 newly adopted local government policies aimed to strengthen food systems. The Growing Food Connections Policy Database, hosted by the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo, will assist local governments as they work to broaden access to healthy food and help sustain local farms and food producers.

For more information see the press release.