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Local Food Policy

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Impacting Local Food Policy in Your Community

Many counties, cities, and states have officially made efforts to support local and community food systems. There are many proactive policies and efforts such units of government can undertake to build their local food systems. These links highlight some of the more common and well-known examples.

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How to Change Policy
Simple ways to advance local food policy work.


How City Government, Planning, and Economic Development Agencies Can Promote Local Food | Food Policy Councils | Community Garden Policies | Indigenous Food | Identify and Bring in Local Partners | How to Change Policy and Be an Advocate | How to Pass a Bill

How City Government, Planning, and Economic Development Agencies Can Promote Local Foods

Local Foods Planning and Zoning (4.2 MB PDF)
Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships -- University of Minnesota Extension
This research report identifies planning and zoning issues that inadvertently impact small-scale local farmers and identifies potential solutions.

Local Food Policy: Lessons Learned from Woodbury County, Iowa (306 K PDF)
Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships — University of Minnesota Extension
This case study looks at the pioneering local food policies enacted in Woodbury County, Iowa in 2006 and identifies oversights that led to less than optimal results.

Food Innovation Districts: Traverse City, MI (516 K PDF)
Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships — University of Minnesota Extension
A case study on innovative community planning and economic development strategies Traverse City, Michigan is instituting to support the growth of their local food system.

Food Innovation Districts Work
Regional Food Solutions
This article describes why food entrepreneurs find more success when supported by Food Innovation Districts.

Iowa Local Food and Farm Plan: Report to the Iowa Legislature
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture — Iowa State University
This report is the result of legislation requiring the development of a Local Food and Farm Plan for Iowa. It outlines recommendations for the state.

Food Policy Councils

Food Policy Councils
American Planning Association
This report provides an overview of food policy councils and describes their characteristics as well as explaining how community planners can work with food policy councils to advances policy goals.

List of Food Policy Councils in North America
This resource provides a list and contact information for over 200 food policy councils — councils which bring together various food policy stakeholders — in North America.

Good Laws, Good Food: Putting Local Food Policy to Work for our Communities
Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic
This toolkit was created to provide a starting place for food policy councils to understand the basic legal concepts surrounding local food systems, develop a base of knowledge about the main policy areas, and discover examples and innovations from other cities and states.

Food Policy Councils: Lessons Learned
Food First and Community Food Security Coalition
This resource provides additional information on food policy councils, including an overview of councils, how they emerged, what they are, how they are created, function and structure, and successes and challenges. The report includes case studies.

Community Garden Policies

Community Garden Public Policies
Gardening Matters
This organization’s website provides recommendations and resources for communities and local units of government to help them adopt policies that support and promote community gardens.

Ground Rules: A Legal Toolkit for Community Gardens
National Policy Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity; Public Health Law & Policy
The toolkit includes information on a variety of legal issues that might impact community gardeners as well as a model lease, gardener’s agreement, and garden rules.

Starting a Community Garden
American Community Gardening Association
This fact sheet provides the basic information to get a gardening project off the ground.

Community Development through Gardening: State and Local Policies Transforming Urban Open Space
Legislation and Public Policy
This resource offers an analysis of the role of community gardening in addressing urban blight. It also examines current issues facing urban gardens as well as a model community gardening ordinance that can encourage and protect community gardening efforts.

Indigenous Food and Native Voices

Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative
First Nations Development Institute
This grant project provides an example of support for Native Agriculture and locally grown foods.

Indigenous Food Systems Network
Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty
This advocacy website allows individuals and groups involved with indigenous food-related action, research, and policy reform to network and share relevant resources and information.

Promoting Regional, Indigenous, and Delicious Foods
Slow Food USA
This article addresses biodiversity of food products and the importance of preserving regionally indigenous foods and varieties that are at risk of extinction.

Indigenous Environmental Network
Food Sovereignty Security and Health
This northern Minnesota advocacy organization promotes policy to build and sustain indigenous food systems.

Identify and Bring in Local Partners

Growing a Community Food System
University of California — Davis and Washington State University
This report demonstrates how to grow a community food system, including a section on building community coalitions of stakeholders.

Stakeholder Identification and Analysis
World Bank
This site, part of the The Community Tool Box, explains a process to identify stakeholders that will be important allies for getting a project or campaign off the ground.

Recognizing Allies
University of Kansas
This site, part of the The Community Tool Box, explains the importance of allies and provides information on how to best identify and use those allies.

Recognizing Allies Tools and Checklists
University of Kansas
This site, part of the The Community Tool Box, to use when identifying and partnering with allies.

Main Street and Community Banks
National Trust for Historic Preservation
This article explains that community banks are important stakeholders in small communities. They make the majority of small business loans even though they make up only a small portion of the banking industry.

How to Change Policy and Be an Advocate

American Community Gardening Association
This site provides examples of community garden initiatives around the country and links to other organizations that support community gardening.

Community Action to Change School Food Policy: An Organizing Kit
Massachusetts Public Health Association
This guide focuses on changing school food policy but offers a format that could be useful for any topic or specific issue pertaining to local foods. It describes several steps (learn about the issue, form a committee, research what is happening, etc.) and provides depth for how these steps can be accomplished using the example of childhood health and the school food environment.

A Citizens' Guide to Influencing Local Land Use Decisions
1000 Friends of Minnesota and Minnesota Waters
This guide explains why people are often ineffective at winning over allies and getting their point across. While it focuses on land use, it provides relevant insight for any issue, including local foods.

How to Pass a Bill

Government 101: How a Bill Becomes Law
Project Vote Smart
This site provides an overview of how a federal bill becomes law.

Search Legislation
Use this database to search for legislation that has been passed or is pending in the U.S. Congress.

How a Bill Becomes Law in Minnesota
Minnesota State Legislature
This official state site describes how a bill becomes law in Minnesota.

Minnesota Bill Search and Status
Minnesota State Legislature
This official state site helps you track Minnesota legislation.

How a Bill Becomes a Law in North Dakota
North Dakota Legislative Branch
This official state site describes how a bill becomes law in North Dakota and provides information about deadlines, procedures, and how to contact legislative entities, testify before a committee and lobby.

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