Franklin County and the City of Columbus have been recognized for the Columbus & Franklin County Local Food Action Plan, the Green Business Urban Agriculture Plan, and a joint food team to implement the two plans. The collaborative effort provides a framework to unify residents, schools, community organizations, businesses, and local government in supporting a healthy, strong, and resilient local food system. The statewide award for Best Practices in Planning, given annually by the Ohio Chapter of the American Planning Association, honors outstanding planning and planning leadership, and was presented at a ceremony in Athens on September 28th.
Creation of the Local Food Action Plan was led by Board of Commissioners President John O’Grady and City Council President Pro Tempore Priscilla Tyson to address some of the underlying social issues of poverty, underemployment, and unemployment that contribute to food inequality.
“Access to high-quality, local food is good for all of our residents,” said Commissioner O’Grady. “And the local food system supports nearly 100,000 jobs in our community. Unfortunately, many people, especially poor people, don’t have access to a healthy variety of food options. With this plan, we hope to be able to begin to address this inequity.”
Nearly one-in-five children in Columbus is food-insecure, and fewer than 25% of adults in Franklin County report consuming the recommended servings of five or more fruits and vegetables each day.
“As we approach the first anniversary of the creation of the Local Food Action Plan, we are pleased to receive this recognition,” said Council Member Tyson. “We created a multifaceted approach to collectively solve food insecurity by talking to residents and major community stakeholders. The success we have experienced thus far as a result of the plan is because of community action.”
The Ohio Chapter of the American Planning Association is an association of professional planners committed to promoting and enhancing planning and the quality of planning for all governmental entities in order to maintain and improve the quality of life for all Ohioans. Its biannual Planning Awards recognize the highest levels of achievement in planning.
“Buying local foods is a direct way to support the Central Ohio economy, and we believe that the value created will be shared by all residents,” said James Schimmer, Franklin County’s Director of Economic Development and Planning.
The city and county worked with a number of partners to create the plan, including Local Matters, the City of Columbus Planning Division, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, Franklin County Economic Development and planning, and Columbus Public Health, and received input on the plan from more than 1,000 local residents through interviews, surveys, and public meetings.
Highlights of the Local Food Action Plan include plans to:
- Improve how people access food, grow food, and prevent food waste.
- Increase the availability and affordability of healthy and local food while teaching people convenient and health ways to feed themselves and their families.
- Support a stronger market for local food businesses, creating jobs and fostering community revitalization.
- Bolster food waste prevention efforts and supporting strategies that decrease the amount of food-related wast going to local landfills.
More information about the Columbus & Franklin County Local Food Action Plan can be found at Columbus.gov/lfap