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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service, is announcing new technical assistance to help 13 communities develop local food systems and placemaking strategies. The assistance is provided through Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP), a federal initiative that helps communities reinvest in existing neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for all residents as they develop the local food economy.

“Local Foods, Local Places is a great example of how federal and local partners can come together to support community efforts that build food systems, improve equitable access to healthy food, create job opportunities, and enhance environmental protection efforts,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “I am excited to see how these communities thrive over the next several years and become models for other locations across the nation.”

Each selected community will work with a team of federal, state, and regional experts to address local agricultural, environmental, public health, economic development, and equity issues. Together, they will develop a community-led action plan to strengthen the local food system and spur the revitalization of often-overlooked neighborhoods in the community.

The 13 partner communities being announced today were selected from 97 applicants. The communities are in California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington. A summary of planned projects is below.

2021 LFLP Community Projects:

Oklahoma
Wyandotte Nation will implement a community-led self-assessment in Wyandotte, a rural tribal community lacking a grocery store, to document key local food and revitalization issues and identify opportunities for action. The self-assessment will also help refine local food system goals, which include the creation of a new community farmers market, community gardens, and supply-chain improvements benefiting local restaurants and buyers. The tribe wishes ultimately to reconnect the Wyandotte people to the land and its food through food sovereignty.

The Restoration Collective, Inc., a community-based nonprofit organization, is coordinating with the city of Tulsa as it seeks to revitalize the 36th Street North Corridor. The Housing Authority of the City of Tulsa is implementing the Envision Comanche plan to improve residents’ access to healthy foods, plan for an urban farm, and explore the potential to partner with non-profit community groups to develop opportunities for a micro-grocery, a farm stand and a food processing kitchen.

California
The city of Sacramento will use Food-Anchored Resiliency Hubs in disadvantaged neighborhoods to grow, prepare and sell locally-sourced food to residents; improve climate change resiliency and sustainability practices in materials and operations; and create new training, employment, and entrepreneurship opportunities. The project will focus on three key sites: the International Garden of Many Colors with partner Sacramento Food Policy Council; the former City Tree Nursery with partner Planting Justice; and the Alchemist Kitchen Incubator Hub with partner Alchemist CDC.

Colorado
The Family Center/La Familia multicultural family resource center seeks to engage Latinx residents in the predominantly low-income immigrant corridor of Ft. Collins to create more options for upward economic mobility, celebrate existing local cultural culinary talents, and support a more comprehensive and resilient local food system.

Massachusetts
In New Bedford, the Marion Institute’s Southcoast Food Policy Council and local partners, Old Bedford Village and Coastal Foodshed, are focusing on the “south central Bedford Village” neighborhood to improve health outcomes by identifying vacant spaces and brownfield sites to develop urban gardens. They also hope to create a fixed or mobile farmers market stand and increase participation in school gardens during the summer to improve local food access.

Illinois
The University of Illinois College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Science; University of Illinois Extension; Jackie Joyner-Kersee (JJK) Foundation; and Danforth Plant Science Center are partnering to design a program in East St. Louis encouraging youth to become leaders in the food system. The proposed JJK Food, Agriculture, and Nutrition Innovation Center will include a demonstration farm, commercial test kitchen, and multiple instruction spaces. The Innovation Center will help improve access to local foods in East St. Louis and the surrounding areas.

Missouri
Building Community Bridges is working with Lincoln University Cooperative Extension and local partners to improve food security, human nutrition and the local economy in Jefferson City’s Southside neighborhood. Together, they will expand local stakeholder engagement to facilitate community input, set local food system goals, and mobilize resources to evaluate success.

Nevada
The city of Las Vegas seeks to create the Historic Westside Urban Agriculture Park, which includes vertical farming, a food distribution hub, an education center, an outdoor community area, and a retail food co-op. The city is working to reopen the closed James Gay Park as an anchor for revitalization of a historic Black neighborhood and Jackson Avenue, the neighborhood’s former main street and commercial hub. The reimagined park and neighborhood revitalization will provide affordable housing, healthy food choices, job creation and space for community events and engagement.

New Jersey
The city of Jersey City is partnering with residents of the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood to establish a “food value chain” in the community. The goal is to increase demand for healthy local food and support the local economy by highlighting healthy food businesses and connecting unemployed residents with jobs in food production, aggregation, distribution, service, and disposal.

Puerto Rico
On the island of Culebra, the group Mujeres de Islas is collaborating with the local municipality and businesses to address food insecurity and build a more sovereign and sustainable local food system for residents. The group is interested in developing an island-wide organic composting initiative coupled with an urban vegetable and fruit gardening initiative and will also coordinate with ongoing revitalization efforts in downtown Culebra.

Tennessee
Crabtree Farms of Chattanooga, a non-profit educational urban farm, is partnering with The BLVD Project and ELLA Library to improve the Rossville Blvd corridor and the neighborhoods it ties together. By using creative placemaking concepts, they will improve neighbors’ access to the farm and its products to help address food instability in the community. They will look at opportunities to leverage the farm as a catalyst for food access, economic development, and community building along the corridor.

Virginia
The city of Norfolk is considering converting a transit bus into a “mobile farmers market,” which would buy fresh food from local farmers and producers and sell it at an open-air market in a city-owned parking lot. The neighborhood under consideration recently lost its only grocery store. Working with the community, the city plans to use retail space near the lot for nutrition education, including cooking demonstrations to teach residents how to prepare healthy meals using fresh produce.

Washington
Residents of the Skyway Neighborhood are partnering with King County officials to implement the new Urban Food Systems Pact. The LFLP project will advance key components of the pact, including development of a community-led local food strategy that will use vacant lands for a farmers market supporting Black, indigenous and people of color; establish community gardens; promote a Hunger-to-Health community food education initiative; coordinate among several food pantries; create an Edible School Yard project and improve food waste recycling. This initiative will be hosted by the Skyway Resource Center, a HUD Envision Center.

For more information on Local Foods, Local Places, visit: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/local-foods-local-places

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