To start this positive change moving, the plan asks us to commit to four big actions:
Invest in Our Food Economy
Invest in Our Food Economy calls us to support a new, diverse generation of food and farming entrepreneurs with training, education, preferential purchasing policies, and investments in food distribution infrastructure. These upstream investments are designed to pay increasing dividends over time as these entrepreneurs build local businesses and create jobs.
Invest in Our Health & Wellness
Invest in Our Health & Wellness calls us to address the continuing diet-related challenges in our community by creating networks of neighbor-to-neighbor support, and by engaging employers, teachers, and physicians as partners to promote healthy living. The strategies focus on the information gaps that make it hard to make good health choices.
Invest in Our Community
Invest in Our Community calls for a countywide commitment to reduce food insecurity and the socially corrosive impacts of poverty through more effective delivery of safety net services, increases in community self-sufficiency in food production, and increased availability of housing for food system workers. The strategies tackle hunger and poverty at three points: immediate need, long-term security, and lifting the most at-risk of us up into stable workforce housing.
Invest in Our Foodshed
Invest in Our Foodshed calls us to become stewards of our natural heritage by reducing greenhouse gas emissions generated from the food system, protecting scarce farm and ranch land, reducing food waste, and encouraging best practices for managing precious natural resources. The strategies are focused on opportunity areas where small investments can have big impacts.
This plan, which is based on two years of community engagement with both grassroots and organizational/business leaders, is focused on opportunities. It is filled with success stories and models and programs that are ready to go to scale today. It avoids debating what or who is wrong out of a belief that change is rarely made this way.
We recognize that there are a number of issues that polarize our community – from farmworker housing and wages to pesticide use—and that some agriculture representatives, food justice advocates and environmentalists may not be completely satisfied with how these topics were addressed in the plan. However, it is our hope that by raising these important issues, the plan will serve as a platform for continued engagement on areas critical to the health of the food system and our county’s resilience. This plan explicitly intends to stand outside of the traditional polarization of our community between north and south County, agriculture and environment, and red or blue politics, and is intended to be the beginning of the dialog.
This is an ‘all in’ plan that calls for everyone of us, every part of the food and farm sector, to get engaged and get aligned. You do not have to agree with everything to get started. Together we can invest in a better future for the community, by focusing on the health, nutrition, job and business creation, and stewardship opportunities that our food and farming sector presents.
Together we can future proof our food system. All we need now is the will to act.