March 5, 2015.
By David Bertola, Buffalo Business First
Chautauqua County is among eight U.S. communities to receive training and assistance to link farmers to residents who lack access to healthy food.
American Farmland Trust will lead outreach efforts in partnership with the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab at the University at Buffalo, Ohio State University and Cultivating Healthy Places. The American Planning Association and the Growing Food Connections National Advisory Committee also advise the project; and the UB lab is the project lead.
Over a three-year period, Growing Food Connections will work with local governments to create their own plans, policies and partnerships, and make public investments to support family farmers. Growing Food Connections is a five-year, $3.96 million research initiative funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture program, will help local governments, planners, family farmers and consumers work together to strengthen their food systems.
The eight communities are models for other communities nationwide that face similar challenges.
Samina Raja, Growing Food Connections principal investigator and associate professor of urban and regional planning at University at Buffalo, said that the communities were selected from a competitive nationwide search and application process.
“The selected local governments will blaze a path for more than 30,000 local governments in the United States that have traditionally overlooked the problems and opportunities in their communities’ food systems,” Raja said.