MDP Publishes Report on Food Planning

The Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) has released the 28th publication in its “Models and Guidelines” series, entitled “Planning for the Food System.”  The 152-page report argues that a robust locally grown food production and distribution system is essential to ensuring sustainable communities.  From the report’s “Introduction and Purpose” section:

This publication outlines how the “food system”—production, processing, marketing, distribution, consumption, and waste management—is central to our current and future use of land, to our economy, and to our well-being, and is therefore a priority for planning.  …

This Models and Guidelines report provides information to local governments and interested citizens about the food system—production, processing, marketing, distribution, consumption, and waste management—and how public policies, including planning, can improve the system to benefit Maryland’s environment, economy, and citizens. After discussing the issues affecting the food system and establishing a role for planning, the report looks at the components of the food system and offers examples of how local governments, non-profit agencies, and other institutions have addressed shortcomings in their local food systems.  …

MDP hopes that this report will be useful to local governments and others who are interested in incorporating food policy into local comprehensive plans and want to learn more about implementation tools, such as zoning that can and have been used by others to support and enhance local food systems. Innovative ideas are taking root every day. Laws, regulations, and practices should be as enabling as possible while being consistent with public health, safety, and welfare. The inclusion of gardens on commercial properties, for example, should not be prohibited merely because it has not been done before.

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