Written on October 13, 2016 by Molly Caccia
The EPA is offering an exciting program to create walkable, healthy, and economically vibrant neighborhoods though local food systems development. Local Foods, Local Places is the new program that offers technical assistance during a two day workshop while developing a plan of action for communities who want to develop local food systems.
Local Foods, Local Places will boost economic opportunities for local farmers and businesses, improve access to healthy and local food, and promote childhood wellness. Additionally, it will reduce the necessity for vehicles as this fresh and delicious food will be closer to home than the supermarket.
Special consideration will be given to communities who have already begun the local food enterprise development process to increase vibrancy of their communities. Partner communities in Appalachia and Delta regions are eligible to receive financial assistance to help implement their local food and community revitalization plans.
The impact of Local Foods, Local Places is incredible. Through the program, communities have been working on projects such as opening markets in downtown areas featuring year-round local grown food, planning cooperative grocery stores, creating centrally-located community kitchens/food hubs to sell locally grown foods, and starting business incubators to help entrepreneurs launch food-relate businesses. The program has helped communities teach school children how to grow their own food and made local healthy food accessible to families, including via Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
There is also an element of land recycling in the new Local Foods Local People initiative. The new neighborhood gardens encourage creative use of space, and they can be built anywhere—even on brownfields. With above-ground soil boxes, the contamination doesn't hinder the growth or quality of produce. This re-purposing an unsightly or undeveloped property into something that feeds, nurtures, and educates a community is exactly what CCLR and the concept of land recycling hopes to accomplish.
At CCLR, we strive to learn about sustainable practices that bring communities together. Recently, we reported on the work of a neighborhood gardening organization based in San Francisco called City Slicker Farms. Much like Local Foods, Local Places, they have made a lasting impact on communities in Oakland by providing opportunities for local food production. CCLR has also hosted members of a similar organization called Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo at our New York Interagency Working Group.
If you are interested in applying for this opportunity to better your community, your environment, and your belly, the deadline for communities to apply for planning assistance is November 6, 2016 on the website. If you need help applying or have questions about the process, please contact us at www.cclr.org for free assistance.
For more information regarding the application, the program, and similar initiatives, you can sign up for the Local Foods, Local Places; Cool & Connected; Healthy Places for Healthy People: Program Overviews and Application Questions Webinar on Thursday, October 20th. Melissa Kramer, Ed Fendley, and Stephanie Bertaine from EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities will be providing brief presentations on Local Foods, Local Places as well as two other planning assistance programs: Cool & Connected, which helps small towns use broadband service to revitalize main streets and promote economic development, and Healthy Places for Healthy People, which helps communities partner with community health centers, nonprofit hospitals, and other health care facilities to create walkable, vibrant, and healthy communities, making health an economic driver for downtown and neighborhood revitalization. In this webinar, potential applicants will be able to ask questions about the programs and application process and get advice from the experts.
Please join the webinar through a computer as there is limited capacity on the phone conference line. If you do not have audio capabilities through the computer you are using and need to join the webinar using the conference line, contact [email protected] for the call in information.
Local Foods, Local Places is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), EPA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), with support from the White House Rural Council.
Photo courtesy of Fordham University