How to Conduct a Community Food System Assessment- A New Guide for Planners

APA’s current PAS (Planning Advisory Service) Memo focuses on how planners can conduct or support a community in a community food system assessment. A community food system assessment provides a comprehensive tool to identify the assets and barriers for a community’s food system. Conducted at the neighborhood, city, or even regional level, this assessment tool offers a systems approach that provides planners and the community ways to identify issues and solutions, engage the community, and inform policy-making. The Community Food System Assessments (Nov/Dec 2015) Memo, by Kara Martin and Tammy Morales, includes examples of assessments, resources, and a case study on Buffalo, New York to demonstrate how various communities have used this tool.

The Memo is just one of APA’s many resources focused on food system planning. The 2008 PAS Report, Planners Guide to Community and Regional Food Planning (PAS 554), by Samina Raja, Branden Born and Jessica Kozlowski Russell, is particularly helpful for understanding how planners play a role in the food environment. The policy report, Planning for Food Access and Community-Based Food Systems: A National Scan and Evaluation of Local Comprehensive and Sustainability Plans by Kimberley Hodgson (2012), is useful for communities incorporating food access into their comprehensive plans or sustainability plans. Check out these and other APA’s food system publications that can help you and your community in taking steps to building a healthy, equitable food system.

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