State makes progress on food plan goals
Report cites accomplishments, opportunities for further work, need for comprehensive solutions
Three years since the state of Massachusetts released the MA Local Food Action Plan, a report finds that action by the legislature, the administration, and state agencies has resulted in progress toward some of the Plan’s goals, and that additional efforts are needed on others.
The Plan includes a set of goals, recommendations, and action items for food system stakeholders to take in support of a more sustainable and equitable food system for the Commonwealth. Many of the Plan’s recommendations call for action on the part of state government, including the governor, the legislature, and state boards and agencies. The report, published by the Massachusetts Food System Collaborative, serves as a status report on the Plan’s public sector recommendations. It is also intended to remind state policymakers of the need and opportunities to elevate food system policy, regulation, and investment as a whole.
The report, Sustainability and Equity in the Massachusetts Food System: Public sector progress, 2016-2018, cites a number of recent state budget items and bills signed into law that directly address recommendations offered by the Plan, including:
A number of recommendations from the Plan are cited as areas where the state has fallen short, such as:
Many other recommendations from the Plan are listed in the report as having had incremental progress as a result of action by state agencies and the legislature.
The report emphasizes the need for comprehensive efforts to address the challenges of the food system. “Considering any of the issues raised in the Plan to be solely the purview of single agency or committee misses opportunities to forge solutions that efficiently and effectively build a food system that is equitable and sustainable,” says Winton Pitcoff, director of the Collaborative. “Each sector of the food system is connected to the others, and this intricate web means wise investments and comprehensive policies can have deep and broad positive impacts, and neglect can cause irreparable harm.”