Implementing and Sustaining Regional Healthy Food Systems Planning
Healthy Food, Healthy Lives
December 12, 2023
Food systems planning is a collaborative process among farmers, retailers, consumers, nonprofits, health systems, and government to develop priorities and implement practices that shape how regional food systems operate.
It can result in improvements like changes in food procurement at public institutions, revisions to urban gardening codes, and better access to local food, which in turn have a positive impact on food security and health. NYHealth is supporting eight food planning groups in New York State that are developing tailored regional food systems plans. The funding enables these alliances to put plans into action by hiring dedicated staff, speeding up coalition building, seeking community and resident input, and communicating to stakeholders about the positive impact of food planning on local food systems. Two of these eight groups are now ready to put their plans into action. In 2023, NYHealth awarded Rochester Food Policy Council (ROC) a grant to support the implementation of local food systems plans to make healthy, local food more available. NYHealth is also supporting a complementary initiative with the Adirondack Food Systems Network.
Under this grant, ROC will undertake a range of activities to implement its plan. It will form a partnership with the City of Rochester to launch a healthy food grant and loan program to fund retail food businesses. Together with the City, ROC will also create a community food system plan that prioritizes healthy food access and nutrition-centered food procurement goals in public institutions. Additionally, ROC will work to expand public gardens and support a youth-led advocacy campaign for healthier food options at recreation centers.