|Local Food Production Workshop Poster|
Planning Local Food Production for Healthier Communities
A workshop for planners and local officials
Community-based agriculture is gaining recognition as a key strategy to increase access to healthy food, improve public health, provide job training and employment, and advance economic and community development. It is often hindered by the absence of public policies that provide governmental, legal, and institutional support. Additionally, government policies can present obstacles to the growth of local food production initiatives. The Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities at the University of Illinois Chicago (CEED@Chicago) proposes to increase support for community-based agriculture and focus on the barriers hindering it by offering
Practicing planners at the local and regional levels are vital to the growth of sustainable community-based agriculture. They are responsible for supporting and enhancing the overall public, social, ecological, and economic health of their communities. Currently, the mainstream planning profession provides little training and support for planners’ involvement in developing their community food systems and community-based agriculture. Fortunately, there are local and national expert planners who have experience in developing and implementing policies and practices that support community-based agriculture. CEED@Chicago proposes to facilitate a transfer of knowledge and skills from these experienced planners to planners in the Chicago metropolitan statistical area (CMSA).
To prepare for this workshop, CEED@Chicago conducted interviews with planners and practitioners throughout the region, which includes 14 counties from Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. The information from the interview will serve as qualitative data to identify barriers, challenges, opportunities and successes that are common across the region. Participating planners will be informed about methods to counter barriers and challenges, and take advantage of opportunities and successes that exist in our region. They will come away from the workshop with tools to plan for their local food system.
Local officials will be invited to attend the workshop with the planner from their community. As leaders of their communities with the power to make public policy, these officials can ensure lasting, positive changes in their community-based food system through government action.
The planning process and workshop format will be the basis for a nationally-replicable workshop curriculum and toolkit.