Food System Planning

 

Today the "hidden costs" of our city planning strategies and industrial agriculture system are apparent. Our soils are depleted, our water is effected by nitrogen runoff and erosion. Clearing land to produce food for a growing population, as well as the methane gas produced by municipal food waste contributes to carbon emissions and climate change. Many rural communities are suffering and many farmers working within this system struggle to make ends meet. The health and quality of life of those who rely on this food system and live in today's cities have also been effected. In 2012, the USDA reported that access to healthy fruits and vegetables is a critical issue for those living in approximately 6,500 food deserts or "low-income tracts where either a substantial number or share of residents have low-access to a grocery store" (American Nutrition Association 2015). The Center for Disease Control reported that in 2008, "the U.S spent over 147 billion dollars on obesity, an epidemic that is preventable through diet and exercise" (CDC 2015). Public health studies indicate that this could be the first generation in U.S history expected to have a shorter life than the generation before (Policy Link 2012).


 

A growing number of communities, municipalities, counties and regions are choosing to assess and strategically cultivate a sustainable community food system or "collaborative network that integrates sustainable food production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste management in order to enhance the environmental, economic, and social health of a particular place" (UC Davis Sustainable Ag Research Program 2015).  Elizabeth has studied and worked with UGA and community partners (Coastal Regional Commission, Athens Clarke County, Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, NRCS, Extension, and local food producers etc.) to map, assess and begin to plan a food system that could create greener, healthier and more equitable communities. We look forward to planning, designing, and launching a new food system model with you.