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Access to Food
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83 Action Items Found
Provide technical assistance to municipalities to identify suitable municipally-owned land, including parks, schools, and open land, for food production. Encourage municipalities to partner with community garden and other non-profit urban growing groups to grow on underutilized public lands.
Where needed, develop model contracts and leases that municipalities can use to lease city-owned land for farming. Train municipal land use managers and planners on these tools.
Provide more public education on urban food production techniques in community gardens and home gardens, such as growing vegetables, composting, keeping bees, chickens, and other animals.
Educate municipal officials and citizen advocates about the availability of state funds for this purpose, including Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND), Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations Program (PARC), Community Forest Stewardship Implementation, and Urban Agriculture.
Increase outreach and education on food donation opportunities, including the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which provides liability protections for donators.
Implement a state tax credit for farmers and others who donate surplus food. Currently, there is no state tax credit for food donation and only C-corporations are eligible for the federal enhanced tax credits and most Massachusetts farmers do not meet these criteria.
Explore and implement financial incentives and service fees to support food donation distributors, many of which rely exclusively on charitable donations to fund their work.
Increase refrigerated storage capacity at food pantries through public funding or connections with under-used, existing, nearby facilities to allow food pantries to accept more donations of fresh, perishable foods.
Increase participation in existing education and training around the handling of fresh food for those donating, distributing, and serving the food. Best management practices are being developed through a collaborative effort of the EPA, Massachusetts Department of Public Health(DPH), and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), with support from Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Center for Ecological Technology.
Create a communication network so that farmers can connect with volunteers willing to harvest and distribute a crop in an overly abundant year.
Develop a toolkit for seafood marketers to easily educate their consumers.
Promote locally caught fish species through established seafood outlets and distribution channels such as conventional grocery, retail, and fish markets.
Support direct-to-consumer models for seafood sales, such as community supported fishery (CSF) programs. Support organizations that spur CSF development through education and technical assistance.
Make local seafood eligible for purchase with consumer incentives programs, like Boston Bounty Bucks.
Distribute sustainably-caught, local seafood to hunger relief organizations.
Distribute local seafood at retail locations that accept SNAP.
Distribute fresh, whole fish to markets, with a focus on customers’ cultural preferences. This is a marketing strategy that reduces processing costs and delivers cost-savings to customers.
Encourage sale and consumption of lower-cost, underutilized species, like Whiting, Arcadian Redfish, Dogfish, and Scup in all markets.
Promote safe recreational angling – including clamming, lobstering, and spear fishing – that enables individuals to fish for their own seafood. Facilitate this by developing urban access to fishing piers, and removing language barriers for permits.
Encourage and support $10 million in public financing for the Massachusetts Food Trust, which would allow additional private funds to be raised.