Feed Northampton:FIRST STEPS TOWARD A LOCAL FOOD SYSTEM Responding Innovatively to Challenges
UNDERSTANDING FOOD AS A SYSTEM Components of a food system
Scales of foOD SYSTEMS:1. Local2. Regional3. National4. Global
The Global Foodshed • A foodshed is the area between where food is produced and where food is consumed, including: - where food is grown - where food travels on distribution routes - where it is processed and packaged - where it’s sold and consumedOn average, food consumed in the United Statestravels over 1,500 miles and changes hands half a dozen times before it even reaches the table
A D VA N TAG E S of large-scale s y s t e m s• Access to wide varieties of food fromdistant lands and warmer climates• Food is available year-round• Food is produced and sold at low costs,making it more accessible to food insecure
WEAKNESSES of large-scale s y s t e m s• The reliance on fossil fuels makes the system vulnerable,due fuel availability and fluctuating costs• Massive waste stream pollutes the environment and fails tocapitalize on potential opportunities• Centralized processing plants are susceptible tocontamination affecting people nation-wide• Less economic trickle down to local economy
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS Stimulates local economy Reduces environmental impacts Enhances community
UNREALIZED OPPORTUNITIES...• A local food system planned at the municipal level has the potential to provide food security and support job growth• Individuals, businesses, and local governments can realize that there is an opportunity to plan a local food system that can foster: entrepreneurial endeavors educational opportunities community assets food abundance
...However, there are constraints and limitations to local food cultivationCHALLENGESto be overcome:• Land is prohibitively expensive• Diminishing agricultural land• Voids in infrastructure• Legal barriers and zoning restrictions• Short growing season
FEED NORTHAMPTON:First steps Towards a Local Food SystemResponding Innovatively to Challenges
A process for developing a LOCAL FOOD SYSTEM1. Land Assessment2. Appropriate Strategies3. Assembling a Whole System
Context: Northampton lies in the fertile Pioneer Valley Some of the richest agricultural soils in the world:Winooski/Hadley Loam
DISTRICTS Agricultural Rural Suburban• Each District has unique opportunities andconstraints to food cultivation• Apply site-specific cultivation strategiesappropriate to each district’s characteristics Urban
2) APPROPRIATE STRATEGIES• How can we apply the best management practices and food cultivation strategies from around the world to each district?• Permaculture offers some solutions…• Coupled with case studies of regions with similar growing conditions to Western Massachusetts
AGRICULTURAL DISTRICT Greenhouse: Four-season Farming
MUNICIPAL STRATEGIES • Policy Recommendations • Municipal Programs
Local Food System Concept: Implementing Cultivation Strategies Legend Prototype Start-up Farm
3) ASSEMBLING A WHOLE SYSTEM• A food system ismore than cultivation• Four other components -processing -distribution -waste management -education
ASSEMBLING A WHOLE SYSTEM KEY QUESTIONS for tying all of the components of a food system together:• What assets of a food system already exist?• What are the voids in the system?• What are appropriate types of infrastructure that fulfill case-specific functions of a local food system?• Strategize: where should efforts be focused first for the greatest returns and community benefits?
Hub CASE STUDY: Healthy City Intiative @ Intervale--Burlington, VTHands-on agricultural training Youth-run farm marketsGleaning produce to share Community-building
Local Food System Concept: Assembling a Whole System Legend Food Hub Prototype Start-up Farm Food flow Food feeding Northampton
Change on a Town-by-Town Basis Municipal food systems in New England working in conjunction with larger-scale food systems
LIMITATIONS & OBSTACLES• Lack of central coordination or organizing body for a local food system• Outside economic forces affect the local economy• Resistance to changing the “business as usual” model
A COMMON EFFORT• Using innovative responses to meet the challenges posed to beginning a local food system…• City departments, non-profit organizations, and food and farming businesses can work together in a coordinated effort to create: – entrepreneurial endeavors – employment opportunities – community assets – food abundance!
Intro to food systems@ Greenfield Community College
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