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Food System Plan

Food System Plan
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Communities engage in planning activities to help guide future decisions. Planning can include land use, housing, transportation, economic development, and other key areas that shape a community. Local food system development is a new area of focus in planning—both nationally and in Douglas County.

The Douglas County Food System Plan, for the first time, provides strategic recommendations to help guide the development of the local food system in Douglas County, Kansas. It was adopted by Douglas County Board of Commissioners on June 28, 2017, and the Lawrence City Commission on July 11, 2017.

Read the Full Plan, or explore its pieces in the drop-down bars below. You can also learn more about our current priorities.

The plan was created as part of the process to update the Lawrence-Douglas County Comprehensive Plan, and sets a framework for the next 10 years to guide policy changes by our local governments, to shape the work of the Douglas County Food Policy Council, and to inspire community actions and partnerships.

We hope you find something in this plan that excites and inspires you! If you do, please join us in building a more robust local food system. See What Can I Do?, below, for how you can get involved.

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Plan Goals and FAQ

  • Objective #1: Develop local food and agricultural businesses
  • Objective #2: Promote local food, farms, and agricultural heritage tourism
  • Objective #3: Increase local food purchasing
  • Objective #4: Expand workforce development and readiness to prepare community members for successful food system employment

See PDF for more on Goal 1, including background information, policies, and potential partners.

  • Objective #1: Protect high quality agricultural lands
  • Objective #2: Conserve soil and water resources
  • Objective #3: Improve soil and water quality
  • Objective #4: Support intergenerational land transition and beginning farmer land access
  • Objective #5: Build the resilience of agricultural ecosystems

See PDF for more on Goal 2, including background information, policies, and potential partners.

  • Objective #1: Reduce built environment and transportation barriers that limit food access
  • Objective #2: Expand urban agriculture and community-based food production
  • Objective #3: Make healthy food choices more convenient

See PDF for more on Goal 3, including background information, policies, and potential partners.

  • Objective #1: Apply equity principles to local government food system efforts
  • Objective #2: Expand city- and county-led initiatives to make food more affordable
  • Objective #3: Strengthen collaboration with community partners to ensure all residents have enough food
  • Objective #4: Celebrate diversity and cultural heritage as part of local food promotion

See PDF for more on Goal 4, including background information, policies, and potential partners.

  • Objective #1: Foster a community culture of waste reduction
  • Objective #2: Encourage food recovery practices and policies to supply safe, nourishing food to families in need
  • Objective #3: Create composting programs and policies for commercial, institutional, and residential settings

See PDF for more on Goal 5, including background information, policies, and potential partners.

Do your interests connect to something in the plan? There are multiple ways you can build upon the connections between your priorities and our community’s local food system goals. Throughout this document, the importance of collaborations to further policy change and create community impact is a common theme. Community organizations, institutions, businesses, and residents all play a role in helping transform this plan from a vision to reality.

Engage with the DCFPC!

  • Attend a meeting and share your ideas
  • Host a meeting of the DCFPC and share about your work
  • Invite the Council to give a presentation
  • Join the Council as a member or work on an initiative with a subcommittee

All DCFPC meetings are open to the public

Take action with the plan!

  • See what inspires you and aligns with your current work
  • Spearhead a new effort or build new collaborations
    • Enhance fundraising
    • Ask the Council for a letter of support for a grant you’re writing
    • Invest in plan objectives and policies

The Food System Plan will serve as a guidance document for City of Lawrence and Douglas County for the next 10 years, 2017-2027. Success in implementing the objectives and policies depends upon the work of many different actors throughout our local food system.

Role of the Douglas County Food Policy Council

As an advisory body, the Douglas County Food Policy Council (DCFPC) will serve as the principle implementation body for the Food System Plan. Staff members from Lawrence and Douglas County will support the DCFPC to accomplish its work. Once adopted, the DCFPC and staff will oversee an on-going process to:

  • Prioritize initiatives, including creating work timelines and identifying available resources.
  • Clarify responsibility for working on specific actions.
  • Assess progress and identify indicators to track progress.
  • Maintain community engagement, identifying community partners to collaborate with for specific initiatives — with particular attention to health equity and the sustainability of adopted policies, practices, and programs.
  • Ensure accountability in meeting goals and objectives.

Nearly a year’s worth of community effort led to the creation of this plan. The DCFPC oversaw a robust community engagement process and conducted a secondary data review of our food system — from agricultural production to health to economic impact. The DCFPC collaborated closely with the Sunrise Project Community Coordinators, who assisted with targeted story collection within Lawrence. DCFPC staff also researched food systems planning examples in other communities.

Throughout the summer and fall of 2016, a wide range of community members helped identify needs, barriers, and topics of interest to address with this plan. The public engagement efforts included:

  • 13 focus groups with community organizations
  • 7 Community Coordinators reaching over more than 200 residents
  • 480 respondents to a Lawrence Listens survey
  • 5 public forums throughout Douglas County

Based upon community input and background data, the DCFPC and Community Coordinators came to consensus around five working goals, using the criteria framework described at right. From there, a draft plan was released to the public in January 2017, open for comments. Over the next five months, the groups worked with staff to review and refine the plan, including sharing it with elected officials and community partners. Technical assistance was provided during this review stage from PolicyLink and Public Health Law Center. Each step along the way informed the final plan before you today.

A set of 5 criteria was used to select the objectives and policies included in this draft.

  1. Need: Does this approach address an existing community barrier, resource gap, etc?
  2. Community Interest: Have we heard about this topic from the community?
  3. Impact: Do best practices suggest this approach could help us reach a goal?
  4. Feasibility & Funding: Could this really get done?
  5. Influence: Does this approach fall within the plan’s jurisdiction (City of Lawrence and Douglas County governments)?