WASHINGTON – Today, on behalf of the White House Rural Council, six federal agencies joined together to announce the selection of 27 communities in 22 states that will participate in Local Foods, Local Places, a federal initiative that helps communities increase economic opportunities for local farmers and related businesses, create vibrant places and promote childhood wellness by improving access to healthy local food.
Developed as a partnership between USDA, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Delta Regional Authority, this initiative is part of the White House Rural Council’s Rural Impact work to improve quality of life and upward mobility for children and families in rural and tribal communities.
“The community where a child grows up impacts her odds of graduating high school, health outcomes and lifetime economic opportunities,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This Administration has embarked on a different, locally-driven approach to empower homegrown solutions. Projects like these help us learn how to better coordinate and target federal assistance as we work with communities to ensure zip codes never determine a child’s destiny and every part of America prospers.”
“Local Foods, Local Places helps people access healthy local food and supports new businesses in neighborhoods that need investment,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “The program is good for the environment, public health and the economy. By helping bring healthy local food to market and offering new walking and biking options, Local Foods, Local Places can help improve air quality, support local economies, and protect undeveloped green space.”
“The United States is facing a growing population and demographic shifts that demand a transportation system prepared for the 21st century,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Local Foods, Local Places helps to promote investments in local roads and transit services that connect farmers, businesses, and residents further strengthening local economies and improving the quality of life in rural and urban communities.”
“Healthy food and regular physical activity are key ingredients to a long, productive life – but access to vegetables, fruits and walkable areas is limited for some,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD MPH. “The Local Foods, Local Places program can increase access to these important resources, and CDC is proud to support the expansion of this program in 2016.”
“Local Food, Local Places provides tools for Appalachian communities to make local food more impactful for local economies,” said Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl. “It’s exciting to see how community leaders leverage Federal support to build stronger and healthier economies across Appalachia.”
“One of the greatest opportunities we see in the Delta region is entrepreneurship and innovation in the agriculture sector. Delta communities have some of the richest farmland and experienced farmers in the world and thus a competitive advantage to develop impactful strategies to feed their residents and boost economic and community development,” said Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chair Chris Masingill, “We’re seeing impressive results from last year’s Local Food, Local Places communities and look forward to the innovative strategies these new communities will create.”
The 27 communities selected for 2016 were chosen from more than 300 applicants. Each Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP) partner community works with a team of experts who help community members recognize local assets and opportunities, set goals for revitalizing downtowns and neighborhoods, develop an implementation plan and then identify targeted resources from the participating federal agencies to help implement those plans.
Launched in 2014, LFLP has already helped 26 communities make a difference in people’s lives. With technical assistance through LFLP, participants are taking innovative approaches to common challenges, like launching business incubators to support food entrepreneurs and starting cooperative grocery stores to help revitalize main streets. They are developing centrally located community kitchens and food hubs to aggregate and market local foods. Through the integration of transportation and walkability planning they are connecting people to markets and local restaurants. Health outcomes are being targeted through school and community programs that teach children about nutrition, provide hands-on experience growing food and expand local markets and increase access to them through expanded use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Working with LFLP technical supports teams:
- Williamson, W.V. (population 3,000) is working to improve its food and health care systems with a Federally Qualified Health Center dedicated to establishing a culture of health through community and clinical interventions by expanding the local food system, improving access to fresh, healthy foods, promoting an active lifestyle and providing greater access to health care.
- Rocky Mount, N.C. (population 56,325) is exploring opportunities to establish a farmers’ market and urban community gardens on former brownfield sites, Federal Emergency Management Agency buyout lots, and nearby affordable housing developments.
- Clarksdale, Miss. (population 17,011) is developing a vegetable farming-based job training program and a series of community gardens that will supply food for a new farmers market and café.
- Fallon, Nev. (population 8,439) is organizing stakeholders to start a community-owned grocery store in an abandoned building downtown.
Local Food, Local Places is one of the Administration’s community-based initiatives in action across the country. In these places federal experts are working side by side with residents and local leaders to create customized solutions; bolstering coordination across agencies and improving how we interact with communities as a ‘one Government’ partner; and relying on valuable data to help inform solutions and evaluate what is working and what is not.
The 27 communities selected for 2016 include:
- Bessemer, Alabama, will receive technical assistance to start a farmers market in their downtown, convert vacant lots into community gardens, and build an urban farm and garden project using a former public housing property on a federally designated flood plain.
- Grow Palmer, in Palmer, Alaska, will receive technical assistance to support a sustainable food system and trail network in its downtown and foster coordination among organizations working on Palmer’s local food economy.
- Lake Village, Arkansas, will grow the city’s community garden, expand worksite wellness programming for local businesses, and connect its parks with new trail systems to improve local food access, promote active living, and stimulate economic development.
- Fresno, California, plans to establish the Downtown Fresno Public Market as a downtown anchor, leveraging existing resources to provide local food access and attract residents and visitors.
- Denver, Colorado, will receive technical assistance to identify strategies to enhance local food systems and local food education, and incorporate local foods into the redevelopment of the National Western Center to improve public health and economic and community development opportunities for neighborhood residents.
- The University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado, will partner with the city, downtown businesses, and community organizations to connect their existing health and well-being initiatives with a new program in sustainable food systems.
- The Winder Housing Authority in Winder, Georgia, plans to develop a pedestrian-accessible community kitchen and garden in the city’s Community Development Center.
- The Hawaii Community Development Authority in Honolulu, Hawaii, plans to identify food-based projects that will spur greater investment and stewardship in the Kakaako Makai community, improve returns on local food production, integrate food security initiatives with community and transit-oriented development planning, and reduce stormwater runoff and vulnerability to sea level rise.
- Gary, Indiana, will receive technical assistance to encourage urban agriculture programs across 12 neighborhoods, develop strategies to strengthen local garden groups’ impact on public health, and forge connections among existing neighborhood planning initiatives.
- Discover Downtown Middlesboro, Inc. in Middlesboro, Kentucky, plans to create pallet gardens, low-cost mobile food carts, and business strategies for restaurants; a co-op grocery store; and other local food enterprises to employ low-income residents.
- The Baltimore Public Markets Corporation in Baltimore, Maryland, plans to revitalize Avenue Market in the distressed Upton/Druid Heights neighborhood to increase access to healthy food and promote economic development.
- Somos Inc. in Crisfield, Maryland, will receive technical assistance to establish a year-round farmers market downtown, restoring community members’ access to healthy foods, which was lost when Superstorm Sandy destroyed the town’s grocery store.
- Gloucester, Massachusetts, will receive technical assistance to integrate seafood into food systems planning and use local foods to improve health and drive downtown revitalization.
- Ozark County Homegrown Food Projects in Gainesville, Missouri, plans to start a community garden in the city park and open a community kitchen and food shop in Gainesville Square.
- Henderson, Nevada, will receive technical assistance to develop a food access plan that connects key community areas and offers residents healthy, convenient alternatives for accessing food, work, school, and play throughout downtown Henderson.
- Passaic, New Jersey, will receive technical assistance to strengthen business partnerships in the Eastside neighborhood’s ethnic restaurant and food service enclave so those local businesses can better market and connect themselves with the area’s redevelopment projects.
- The Adirondack North County Association and community partners in Keeseville, New York, will receive technical assistance to connect revitalization efforts downtown with local food and agritourism activities.
- High Point, North Carolina, will receive technical assistance to develop a farmers market and other health and wellness programs for its new central library plaza.
- The Redevelopment Authority in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, will receive technical assistance to attract more producers to the farmers market, expand cultivation of specialty crops, develop a flexible kitchen space facility, and establish a restaurant corridor reflective of the area’s historically diverse cultures to entice people to downtown.
- The Colleton Museum and Farmers Market in Walterboro, South Carolina, will receive technical assistance to build partnerships, explore funding opportunities, and grow markets for local food.
- Rosebud Economic Development Corporation of the Sioux Tribe in Mission, South Dakota, will receive technical assistance to establish a hub of healthy activity centered on local food using a new trail system that links the local grocery store, community garden, farmers market, creek, and wetlands.
- Jackson, Tennessee, plans to create a school-based farmers market using food from the local high school’s garden and to connect the West Tennessee Farmers Market with surrounding neighborhoods to improve local food access and increase economic opportunity for farmers.
- Martin, Tennessee, will receive technical assistance to launch a “Using Food to Build Community” forum to facilitate regular communication between local food producers and consumers, and encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing between different groups.
- Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market in Memphis, Tennessee, will receive technical assistance to develop a permanent, versatile, and more accessible space to host its farmers market and serve as a public square for the city.
- Dallas, Texas, will receive technical assistance to form a local food branding campaign and an alliance of garden and farm enthusiasts to build public awareness, community cohesion, and relationships between growers and local businesses and help community gardens share expertise and increase the size and variety of their yields.
- Christiansburg, Virginia, will receive technical assistance to identify funding and marketing strategies to expand its newly established farmers market, find a permanent location for the market, and attract more shops and restaurants downtown.
- The Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation in Rainelle, West Virginia, will receive technical assistance to establish a mentor program for farmers and producers, develop a community grocery store, form a food alliance, and put vacant land into productive use.