We’ve adopted the term “community and regional food system,” coined by the American Planning Association in 2007, to define the scope for our project. The APA defines community and regional food systems as being “alternative, local, and sustainable” systems designed to combat some of the problems of large, industrial food systems, including concentration of ownership and diet-related diseases such as obesity.
The APA policy guide on community and regional food planning identifies a number of ways in which successful CRFSs can help the local community, including strengthening the local economy, improving the health of a region’s citizens, creating systems that are ecologically sustainable, and creating systems that are equitable and just for all members of society.
Our original grant proposal to USDA suggested an “Initial Framework” for evaluating the components of a Community and Regional Food System. In early 2011 we developed a graphic representation of that framework, and here is the latest version:
In our engagement with community partners, we will work to refine this framework, adding and amending the components and showing how they interact.