Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Focus on Food; Fourteen in 2014

While local food victories abounded across the country in 2014, many exciting transformations occurred right here in Massachusetts!


5. Massachusetts Food System Plan

In early 2014 the Massachusetts Food Policy Council initiated the process to create a statewide Food System Plan. An inclusive public process is underway to assess strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of the Commonwealth’s food system to guide production, distribution and access to Massachusetts’ harvest of its land and water. With input from producers, businesses, food system stakeholders and consumers this new Food System Plan, the first since 1975, will be finalized in the fall of 2015. Read more here .

6. Boston Public Market: Ribbon Cutting

Imagine a year-round, self-sustaining market featuring fresh locally sourced food. The new Boston Public Market will bring together local farmers, fishermen, and specialty food producers in a new dedicated facility as the only locally sourced market of its kind in the US. Opening in the summer of 2015, the new BPM along the Rose Kennedy Greenway will house more than 40 permanent vendors, seasonal classes and programs serving all of Boston. Read more here .

7. CropCircle Kitchen Pearl in Dorchester

Opened last fall, CCK Pearl offers shared use and private multi-functional commercial kitchens and work spaces that foster the growth of local food businesses, create employment opportunities for residents, and facilitate improved access to healthy food in the immediate neighborhood. This new 36,000 square foot facility with its sister site in Jamaica Plain offers Boston’s only shared kitchen commissary and culinary business incubator. Read more here .

8. Article 89: City of Boston Re-Zoning for Urban Agriculture

After a thoughtful inclusive process, Boston’s Article 89 was adopted into law. This citywide zoning article addresses commercial, residential and institutional opportunities and guidelines to improve access to fresh, healthy and affordable food across the city. By providing a legal mechanism Boston is leading the way for rooftop greenhouses, aquaculture and aquaponics facilities, urban farms and other food production opportunities including the keeping of bees and chickens. Read more here .

9. Urban Farming Institute

In July, UFI hosted a ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the first new urban farm in Boston developed under Article 89’s zoning for urban agriculture. Partnering with the Trust for Public Land and Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative the Urban Farming Institute will be responsible for managing this and other new farms in Boston.  UFI’s mission to train residents of Boston and other urban centers to become urban farmers is benefitting from this innovative partnership to enable the up to 800 acres of vacant land across Boston to be re-vitalized for productive local food settings for urban farmers. Read more here .

Still to come: Brookline's commitment to local food in 2014, and its devotion to continue fostering a food system reliant on locally sourced food throughout 2015.