Signatures needed for a petition to become an APA Division


In October and November, 173 APA-FIG members completed our online survey to gauge interest in pursuing Division status. About 94% of respondents think APA-FIG should become an official Division of the APA.

Based on this feedback, the APA-FIG Leadership Committee is pursuing status as an APA Division. The next step to making this happen is completing APA’s official petition:

To support this effort, please indicate your commitment to joining the proposed Division by signing this petition (note: you must be an APA member to sign the petition). We will need 300 signatures.

Please spread the word and help us make this happen.


APA-FIG Leadership Committee



Growing Local: Strengthening Food Systems Through Planning and Policy


Local governments are becoming increasingly involved in planning and policy making for community food systems, both as leaders and as partners with the private sector. Often responding to community pressure, in some cases they are the driving force, motivated by a desire to strengthen local economies, improve food security and nutritional outcomes, and to support agriculture and preserve farmland…

For the entire blog post, check out the American Planning Association’s website here.

APA FIG Reception in NYC

On behalf of the APA-FIG Leadership Committee, we would like to invite you to the annual networking reception in New York City on Monday, May 8, 2017. This year, we will be hosting a joint reception with the APA Healthy Communities Collaborative. We hope to see you in NYC!


National Planning Conference NYC 2017


Don’t forget to register for one of the biggest National Planning Conferences! Registration rates increase starting March 3!

The APA-FIG Leadership Committee hopes to see you in New York City this May. Check out all the exciting food systems planning related events and sessions (16 in total!), including the APA-FIG Business Meeting and Annual Networking Reception. We look forward to seeing many of you at the conference!


Hudson Valley Local Agriculture and Foodshed | Friday, May 5, 2017 | 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. |

Gotham West Market, Housing & Community Development Division Lunch Reception | Saturday, May 6, 2017 | noon – 1 p.m. |

Modern Food Hall: Redevelopment Aid or Trend | Saturday, May 6, 2017 | 1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. |

Incentivizing the Sale of Healthy and Local Food | Saturday, May 6, 2017 | 2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. |

City Food Policy Advisors Kick Plans into Action | Saturday, May 6, 2017 | 4 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. |

Food Systems Planning: Growing Connections and Planning for Health Across the Country | Sunday, May 7, 2017 | 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m |

The Resiliency of NYC Supply Chains | Sunday, May 7, 2017 | 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. |

Developing Vermont’s Food System through Planning | Sunday, May 7, 2017 | 2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. |

Safe, Active Routes to Healthy Food | Monday, May 8, 2017 | 9 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. |

Food as Community Development | Monday, May 8, 2017 | 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. |

Big City Planning Directors on Equitable Redevelopment and Food Access | Monday, May 8, 2017 | 2:45 p.m. – 4 p.m. |

Faces of Food Systems Planning | Monday, May 8, 2017 | 4:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. |

Food Systems Planning Interest Group Business Meeting | Monday, May 8, 2017 | 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. |

Joint Food Systems Planning Interest Group and Healthy Communities Collaborative Reception | Monday, May 8, 2017 | 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. | Porchlight 271 11th Avenue, NY, NY |

Planning for Healthy Rural-Urban Communities | Tuesday, May 9, 2017 | 8 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. |

Serving Up Health Equity Southern Style | Tuesday, May 9, 2017 | 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. |


Sessions Due: APA National Planning Conference – New York City 2017


Community garden in Long Island City, NY. Photo by Kimberley Hodgson.

The next APA National Planning Conference will take place May 6-9, 2017 in New York City. APA-FIG is busy planning some unique sessions and networking events!

If you haven’t already, consider submitting a food systems planning related session proposal. Because of its location, this conference should draw a big crowd, and we would love to see a robust number of food systems planning sessions in the program. The deadline for proposal submissions is August 25, 2016.

If you need some inspiration, consider some of these session ideas:

  • Role of technology in food systems planning
  • Role of local food businesses in the local creative economy
  • Planning for food waste and its impact on sustainability goals
  • Role of the planner in food policy councils
  • Using Collective Impact for food systems planning and implementation
  • Role of state and regional planning efforts for local food systems

Also, if you are looking to join forces with other APA-FIG members or have a neat idea for a session, post a message on the APA-FIG Facebook page, LinkedIn page, or Twitter feed.

And last, but not least, APA-FIG is looking for sponsors for the annual network event. If you work for an organization that may be interested, please let me know.

We look forward to seeing you in New York City.

University of Kansas Planning Students Partner with Wyandotte County on Food Policy Assistance

In Spring 2016, the University of Kansas Urban Planning Department and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas partnered together to develop three options for integrating food access and food production into the current City Wide Master Plan. The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas is a prime example of a community poised for practical, fresh food production and access policies. Healthy Communities Wyandotte (HCW), a health-focused countywide initiative, is an example of this sort of innovation. Through the work of numerous action teams, HCW works to mobilize community members to improve health, as Wyandotte County once again received the lowest health rating in the State of Kansas in 2016. Wyandotte County was recently selected to receive food systems policy and program training and assistance from Growing Food Connections to further their health initiatives. Healthy Food Happy County serves as a supplemental policy document, as directed by Growing Food Connections, that explores the viability of food systems policies within Wyandotte County.

Faces of Food Systems Planning: Erin Hardie Hale

ErinHardieHale_headshotErin Hardie Hale is a Research Associate at University of New Hampshire, which coordinates the NH Food Alliance that is developing a statewide food systems strategy, which is connected to the broader New England Food Vision.

This interview was conducted via email and phone by Erica Campbell of the Vermont Farm to Plate Network, and member of the APA-FIG Leadership Team.

What is your current position, and how does your organization engage in food system planning efforts? I am a Research Associate at the NH Food Alliance. The NH Food Alliance aims to be an informed, connected, and active food systems network. We are developing a statewide food systems strategy, which is connected to the broader New England Food Vision. We convene working groups, regional and statewide gatherings, and other opportunities for participants to build relationships that add value to their work. We communicate and share information and resources about the NH food system with the network and general public regularly and in multiple ways. We also collaborate to implement, monitor, and adapt the action priorities identified by network participants.

How long have you held this position? Since 2013

What do you enjoy about your work? I find working in food systems exciting, because figuring out how to feed ourselves is at the core of so many critical issues, including environmental sustainability, social justice, community health, and economic viability.

I also find that people who work in the food system – from producers and entrepreneurs to food access advocates and policymakers – are passionate about what they do. The NH Food Alliance is all about encouraging collaboration in the food system and I love working with and learning from people who love what they do!

Similarly, what do you find challenging about your work? The complexity of the food system means there’s no one way to address challenges that will satisfy everyone, and finding common ground takes time, trust, and relationship building. There is a constant tension in our network between what many people see as the time intensive work of collaborative planning and building relationships and the need to take action or “do something” concrete.

What areas of the food system do you focus on in your work? The NH Food Alliance connects individuals, organizations, and businesses across the food system so people in sectors that don’t traditionally collaborate can learn from each other and work together toward shared goals. Our first initiative, the Farm, Fish, and Food Enterprise Viability Initiative, is the result of over two years of building our network, listening to hundreds of NH residents, and synthesizing dozens of reports. The common thread emerging from this work is that thriving local businesses are at the heart of our food system and can create cascading benefits for us all. Because we approach viability from a food systems perspective, our goals and approaches go beyond improving the bottom lines for individual entrepreneurs. Instead, we’re looking to create the conditions that support thriving businesses through education, market development, improved food access, and land and sea resource protection.

In the work that you perform, where does addressing food systems issues fit in? How has this changed over time? Everything we do addresses food system issues!

Do you consider yourself a food systems planner? Why or why not? Not by training! I have a PhD in agriculture and science education from UC Davis with a focus on coalition building and collaborative learning and research between farmers and conservation groups in California’s Central Valley. I also have a master’s degree from UC Davis in International Agricultural Development, have worked on farms in Oregon and NH, and have extensive experience in agricultural training and education, working with farmers, farmworkers, and rural communities around the globe, from California and Kenya to Bolivia and Egypt.

What is the biggest food systems planning-related hurdle your organization faced in recent years and how was it dealt with? As I mentioned before, building trust between stakeholders with different perspectives has been a big challenge. There was some skepticism early on about why the UNH Sustainability Institute was taking the lead to coordinate the network building and planning process and so it was difficult at first to get all of the key stakeholders and leaders in the room talking with us. We worked hard to distribute leadership across different groups, make strategic connections, and be very transparent about our process. We also chose to focus our first initiative on viability, in part, because it was an issue that groups across the food system could unite behind.

Who has had the most influence on you as a planner? As a food systems planner? I learned everything I know on the job. Curtis Ogden, our process facilitator, and his organization, the Interaction Institute for Social Change, had a profound impact on the way we approached our network building and planning effort. We’ve also had a very supportive group of other state planners in New England that meets in a monthly Community of Practice call hosted by VT Farm to Plate coordinators, so we were able to learn from other states like Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island that were ahead of us in the process or doing things differently.   Food Solutions New England has also provided an important regional framework and avenue for thinking about planning beyond state borders.

Do you have any advice for someone entering the food systems planning field? What makes you successful in your work? What skills do you use the most in your food systems planning related work? I don’t think that we necessarily need new technologies or scientific research to tell us how to grow healthy food and get it to everyone who needs it in an ethical and responsible way. What we really need to know how to do is share ideas and learn from each other. People are making it work in small and big ways all over the region; learning about what works in one place and adapting it for another and supporting that innovation and collaboration is a driving force of the NH Food Alliance.