"Good Food for All in Southern New England” is a planning and assessment project that allowed Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) and partner organizations to review the current status of healthy, regionally grown food with respect to two goals: 1) significantly increasing the market share of this food; and 2) simultaneously improving access to this food for low income residents of our region through large-scale market outlets.
Our focus was on large market outlets which could achieve a significant increase in the proportion of regionally grown food that they purchase and provide to their clients and customers. We worked with two regional buyers, a regionally owned supermarket chain and a large hospital, as examples.
The long-range purpose of this project is to expand the production and sale of healthy, regionally grown foods while building farm viability and strengthening vulnerable populations in urban and rural Massachusetts and Connecticut by increasing their awareness and consumption of “good food.” As a result, poor and “near poor” children and families will have better access to, and information about, healthy foods, simultaneously improving their nutrition and building their capacity to make informed decisions about their diets. To improve availability of “good food,” more such foods will be produced, and new business relationships will be established along regional food supply chains resulting in improved channels for delivering food and information to target residents.
CISA’s current strategic planning process has reinforced our commitment to the two goals identified in this project. We do not, however, expect to address them through a single comprehensive project, but instead will work through partnerships strengthened during this planning year to create appropriate solutions. We expect to maintain our core focus on strengthening local agriculture, while working with partners to create solutions that deliver healthy food to vulnerable communities while maintaining farm viability.