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Food Planning for the 21st Century

February 4, 2016 – 2:32 pm |

In December 2015 MAPC and allies released the first food policy plan for the state of Massachusetts since the 1970s. The Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan is a planning guide rich with recommendations for the 21st century economy, …

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Planning »

Food Planning for the 21st Century

February 4, 2016 – 2:32 pm |

In December 2015 MAPC and allies released the first food policy plan for the state of Massachusetts since the 1970s. The Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan is a planning guide rich with recommendations for the 21st century economy, from fishing towns to food trucks and urban and rural farms.


In 2013, the Massachusetts Food Policy Council engaged MAPC to to develop a “vision and plan to increase agricultural production, processing, and distribution that will serve as economic stimulus and address multiple related public health and food security issues.”

The initiators of the plan envisioned “a strong, abundant, and resilient food system that is rooted in communities; provides quality jobs; contributes to a vibrant economy; utilizes, enriches, and sustainably manages our State’s natural resources; and supplies healthy, affordable, and accessible food for all residents of the Commonwealth.”










MAPC, along with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, and the Massachusetts Workforce Alliance as partners, conducted research, held public forums, and coordinated working groups, ultimately engaging with more than 1,500 people to understand the existing conditions of the state’s food system, and develop goals and recommendations to make it more sustainable and equitable.

Food is important to everyone; the public’s input was vital to this project.


Photos in this article feature Food Day at the Massachusetts State House and community engagement at local farmers markets.

Topics of conversation ran the gamut and focused on cross-sectoral issues, such as how public transportation impacts access to healthy foods for some communities, and how regulations can both foster and hinder innovation and the growth of small businesses and farms.










Goals, Actions, and Needs

The Massachusetts legislature, state administration, nonprofits and businesses invested in good food system change will work towards the main goals of the Plan:

  • Produce more: Increase production, sales, and consumption of Massachusetts-grown foods;
  • Support good food work: Create jobs and economic opportunity in food and farming, and improve the wages and skills of food system workers;
  • Steward and sustain: Protect the land and water needed to produce food, maximize environmental benefits from agriculture and fishing, and ensure food safety; and
  • Food for all: Reduce hunger and food insecurity, increase the availability of healthy food to all residents, and reduce food waste.

The Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan recommends hundreds of specific actions. From these actions, four overarching needs emerged:

  • We need more information and educational resources to improve the growth potential of the local food system.
  • We need to review and reform the regulatory process to support food production in Massachusetts.
  • We need to support farms, fishermen, and food businesses in learning new skills,
  • and we need to invest money to spur new growth in our food system.

MAPC executive director Marc Draisen speaks at Food Day at the Massachusetts State House.

The Plan was published in December 2015, and accepted by the Food Policy Council. Public agencies, legislators, and private and nonprofit stakeholders are now working to prioritize items in the Plan that fit with their respective missions, and collaborating toward implementation of key parts of the plan. The plan is available online, at

City of Cambridge Business Continuity & Emergency Preparedness Planning

January 19, 2016 – 1:33 pm |

MAPC and the City of Cambridge Community Development Department (CDD) partnered in February 2015 to develop post-emergency business continuity and emergency preparedness strategies for small businesses in Cambridge.
All businesses are vulnerable to both natural and …

NERAC Cache Equipment Deployment Table Top Exercise

November 23, 2015 – 11:05 am |

MAPC serves as the Statewide Fiduciary for the four Massachusetts Homeland Security Regions under a grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS). Additionally, MAPC provides planning and facilitation services for …

MAPC 2015 Fall Council Meeting

November 5, 2015 – 1:06 pm |

MAPC’s October 29 Fall Council Meeting was teeming with optimism as attendees were invited to celebrate the agency’s successes and look positively toward the future of planning in the Greater Boston region.
MAPC President Lynn Duncan …

Immigrant Entrepreneurs Revitalizing Malden: A Story Tour

September 2, 2015 – 2:20 pm |

America is a nation of immigrants – it’s a sentiment that’s widely expressed yet somehow seems easily forgotten. Whether you prefer the metaphor of a melting pot or a tossed salad, the basic illustration remains …

Preparing for Emergency: Cape Ann Table Top Exercise

September 2, 2015 – 11:34 am |

It was a table-top exercise intended to test the capability of the five municipalities of the Cape Ann region to shelter a large number of individuals with functional needs. Its chilling premise was fictional, but …

Mapping the Heat: Surface Temperatures in the MAPC Region

August 21, 2015 – 11:36 am |

Hot enough for ya? It probably depends on where you’re standing.
So far this summer, the weather station at Logan Airport has logged 3 days of air temperature above 90 degrees. Over the past 10 years, …

MAPC Fights Youth Violence with Basketball

July 29, 2015 – 9:54 am |

There are few things that go together quite as well as basketball and summertime – clean feet and warm socks, nothing to do and Sunday afternoons, and, of course, MAPC and regional collaboration. Given this …

MAPC’s Daily Notifications Help Municipalities Reduce Electricity Bills

July 27, 2015 – 4:27 pm |

This summer, MAPC is piloting a notification program that can help municipalities save big on their electricity accounts by reducing capacity charges. Capacity charges can constitute as much as 20-30% of municipal electricity costs, and …

Boston Greenbelt Walk

June 16, 2015 – 1:15 pm |

Over 40 participants joined MAPC and the Free Walkers, a long-distance walking group, for a walk along part of the Boston Greenbelt Trail. The Trail is a proposed 90-mile walking trail circling Boston that would …

Putting Legacy First: Planning for the Boston 2024 Olympics

June 9, 2015 – 10:55 am |

Quick links: Executive Summary, Full Report
Boston’s Olympic bid has the potential to shape the region for years to come. Our new report, issued jointly with the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance and Transportation for Massachusetts, urges …