Community and Local Government

This guide is intended to help communities and local governments realize the benefits of creating and supporting local food systems in their areas. In addition to economic development and job creation, these include better health outcomes due to increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables, land and farmer preservation, and more.  The guide focuses on land use and planning issues that arise as elected officials, town managers, Cooperative Extension agents, and community leaders work together to establish local food systems in their communities. It provides guidance on collaborating for growth in local food systems, including advice on creating a local food policy council, conducting a local food systems assessment, and incorporating local food systems into economic development strategies. The guide also provides ideas and resources for growing an area’s “local food economy”, including supporting farmers markets, roadside stands and mobile markets; increasing local foods in groceries, convenience store, and corner markets; establishing more community gardens; supporting urban agriculture; repurposing vacant, publicly-owned land for food production, processing, distribution, and sales; and increasing agritourism. Published May 2013 by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS).