New England Food System Policy Project Overview

A vibrant and viable regional food system requires a supportive public policy environment. We need to remove barriers, address gaps and foster supportive policies at all levels. This exciting project examines ways to approach public policy to advance a ‘Good Food vision.’  The project report and webinar series are now available

We’ll go beyond an analysis of needs and best practices, creating dynamic approaches that can affect change at all levels of government.  How can diverse groups – from food policy councils to state agriculture commissioners to citizen committees – synergize efforts to transform New England’s food system?  What technologies, policies and resources do we need to support them?  This is the charge of the project’s lead partners: the American Farmland Trust, the Conservation Law Foundation and the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG).

In this broad, collaborative effort, we will identify areas for new and improved policies.  We’ll focus on federal, state and regional strategies, partnering with leaders and practitioners across New England.  Their creative, effective work at the state level must be fostered.  We believe multi-state planning and policies can can   serve us well in advancing a regional food system.  To find out, we’ll investigate laws, rules, practices and procedures—both in and outside the food arena.

We will begin with an analysis of existing policies to support efforts in five key areas:

  • Land: improving access to land for farmers -- including new farmers.
  • Food production: supporting more sustainable production methods, and more ecological and healthful food crop varieties.
  • Food processing: supporting more sustainable processing and packaging methods.
  • Aggregation and distribution: expanding options to supply from local and regional farms.
  • Access to markets: improving access to good food markets for all.

We’ll conduct primary research and interviews with experts and groups on the ground. We’ll learn what works and what needs to change. We work with regional leaders to help strengthen multi-state approaches underway.  We’ll also propose how USDA programs might encourage and facilitate regional-scale food system planning and initiatives.  We’ll identify where change is most needed, at what level and scale, and what kinds of advocacy might be most effective.

With policymakers and advocates across the region, we’ll explore what can work in New England to achieve our shared goals. Together, we’ll advance a resilient food system for all.

For more information, please contact us:

This project is supported in part by the Henry P. Kendall Foundation.