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New Toolkit to Empower Local Food Advocates

Written by Eva Perroni for Food Tank, November 2017.

The second edition of Good Laws, Good Food: Putting Local Food Policy to Work for Our Communities, a toolkit for advocates working at the local level, was released by the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

“Local food advocates are playing an increasingly important role in transforming local and national food policies. These advocates have spearheaded efforts to create food systems that are healthy, sustainable, and transparent,” says Nicole Negowetti, Clinical Instructor at Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic.

The toolkit has eight sections covering the general legal setting surrounding food policy, local food infrastructure, land use planning and regulation, urban agriculture, consumer access and demand, and school food and nutrition education. The updated edition includes two new topics, procurement and food waste, and identifies emerging food trends, such as ethical sourcing of foods produced with animal welfare and fair labor practices. It highlights innovative local policies including the Double Up Food Bucks program, which doubles food assistance dollars spent at participating farmers’ markets.

The toolkit provides an overview of local initiatives that can be pursued by individuals or organizations—from nonprofits to city planners to local government agencies—working to enact change in their local food system. For example, advocates working to improve the nutritional quality of school meals can learn about specific projects that have been successfully implemented in different U.S. cities. Likewise, advocates who want to improve access to healthy foods in their community can access recommendations for strengthening farmers markets and increasing healthy corner store initiatives.

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