Comments being collected now
The first complete draft of the Massachusetts Food System Plan was released on Friday, October 23. The plan is available for download at www.mafoodplan.org, and public comments on the draft will be accepted through November 6.
The plan is a comprehensive assessment identifying current strengths of the Commonwealth's food system and opportunities for improvement. "Through the recommendations in this plan, we will continue our efforts to support Massachusetts agriculture and increase access to healthy food for all of our state's residents," said Governor Charlie Baker. Comments submitted during this review period will be given consideration as the plan is finalized and will inform priorities as implementation of the plan is considered. All comments will be included in the final plan submitted to the MA Food Policy Council in December.
The goals and recommendations target opportunities where legislative, regulatory and other actions could be taken to support the Massachusetts food system. The goals seek to:
- Increase production, sales and consumption of Massachusetts-grown foods;
- Create jobs and economic opportunity in food and farming, and improve the wages and skills of food system workers;
- Protect the land and water needed to produce food, maximize environmental benefits from agriculture and fishing, and ensure food safety; and
- Reduce hunger and food insecurity, increase the availability of fresh, healthy food to all residents, and reduce food waste.
Recommendations highlight the need for more education at all levels of the food system, supportive regulations and a regulatory system that is responsive to the needs of producers, and supports for small businesses and innovative models that can strengthen the food system. Themes of economic development, environmental protection, and equity run throughout all of the recommendations.
The two-year planning process has engaged more than 1,500 participants throughout Massachusetts’ food system – farmers, consumers, policymakers, advocates, and others. The consensus plan was developed through a process of public forums, working groups, and other inputs.