Food System Plan is the Commonwealth’s first since 1974
BOSTON – October 23, 2015 – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration unveiled a draft of the Massachusetts Food System Plan as part of the 2015 Food Day Celebration at the State House. The draft plan aims to foster a strong, abundant Massachusetts food system and provide a framework for the state to create smart food system policy.
“The Massachusetts agricultural industry continues to experience growth, and it is vital that we look for new ways to support our agricultural industry in a changing world and address issues of food insecurity and poor nutrition,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through the recommendations in this plan, we will continue our efforts to support Massachusetts agriculture and increase access to healthy food for all of our state’s residents.”
“The Massachusetts Food System Plan will help the state create policies to increase local food production in Massachusetts, create a vibrant and resilient food economy, protect our environment, and make healthy food accessible for all citizens,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton. “I encourage everyone to submit input on this important plan that could enrich and improve the state’s food system and our communities.”
The plan has four main goals:
- Increase production, sales and consumption of Massachusetts‐grown foods
- Create jobs and economic opportunity in food and farming, and improve the wages and skills of food system workers
- Protect the land and water needed to produce food, maximize environmental benefits from agriculture and fishing, and ensure food safety
- Reduce hunger and food insecurity, increase the availability of healthy food to all residents, and reduce food waste
“I am thrilled to promote Food Day and the beginning of this two week comment period for the Massachusetts Food Systems Plan, an opportunity for everyone in the food system to share comments,” said Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux, chair of the Massachusetts Food Policy Council. “This effort brings together hundreds of organizers and volunteers working to spread the message of choosing healthy, locally produced food that support productive and respectful food systems.”
As part of the Massachusetts Food Day celebration at the State House, a round table with subject experts and growers was held to discuss the draft food system plan. Afterwards, discussion continued at the Boston Public Market KITCHEN’s “Let’s Talk About Food” program. The Massachusetts Food Day event was held on the eve of National Food Day, which aims to “bring Americans together to celebrate and enjoy real food and to push for improved food policies.”
The draft will be open for a two-week public comment period from October 23 through November 6 atwww.mafoodplan.org. The revised and final plan will be submitted to the FPC for review in December.
The Massachusetts Food Policy Council (FPC) was established by the legislature in November 2010 to address the opportunities and challenges of the state’s local food system. It is composed of 17 state agency, legislative, and industry representatives. In 2013, the FPC launched a statewide planning process to draft a food system plan with support from the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and in collaboration with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Franklin Regional Council of Government, and the Massachusetts Workforce Alliance. Over the past two years, more than 1,000 people have provided input, including growers, food processors, consumers, food and agricultural organizations and advocates.
“I am excited that we are honoring and celebrating our state’s vibrant and growing food economy at the State House today,” said State Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington), House member on the Massachusetts Food Policy Council. “Massachusetts farmers and food producers are meeting the increasing demand of consumers for more fresh, local, and nutritious foods that help protect farmlands, increase jobs, and grow our economy. These efforts deserve our continued support and appreciation as we unveil our new statewide food system plan on this special day.”
“I am happy to work with the Department of Agricultural Resources on their mission to promote agriculture here in Massachusetts through the Food Plan,” said State Representative Paul Schmid (D-Westport), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration for taking a proactive stance on agriculture and healthy food here in the Commonwealth.”
“It is important that we strengthen the Commonwealth’s diverse agricultural industry, supporting and creating jobs, and promoting sustainable local food options along the way,” said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “I look forward to working in coalition with Chairman Schmid, Governor Baker, Secretary Beaton and Commissioner Lebeaux to cultivate a plan to improve the Commonwealth’s food system.”
“It is important and encouraging for government and industry to work together toward food system solutions,” said Warren Shaw, owner of Shaw Farm in Dracut. “Increasing the availability of farm land for more production to contribute to greater food security for Commonwealth citizens is critical, and building local supply and strengthening distribution will also support increased food access.”
The Massachusetts food system employs 426,000 people, or 1 of every 10 jobs in the state, and accounts for 4.5 percent of all economic activity. In 2012, there were over 41,000 farms and food businesses in Massachusetts, and the Commonwealth ranks sixth in the U.S. for the total number of “community supported agriculture,” or CSA, farms.
DAR’s mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions – Agricultural Conservation & Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, and Crop and Pest Services – DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth’s agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture’s role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit DAR’s website at www.mass.gov/agr, and/or follow at twitter.com/mdarcommish.
Follow Commissioner Lebeaux on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mdarcommish
Visit our MDAR’s website:…………………………………………….. www.mass.gov/agr
Baystate Medical Center will join Americans from all 50 states who will celebrate the fourth annual Food Day onOct. 24 (a Saturday this year) by participating in special food events throughout the month in celebration of healthy, affordable, local and sustainable food.
Food Day is a time to resolve to make changes in our own diets and to take action to solve food-related problems in our communities at the local, state, and national level. This year’s theme is “Toward a Greener Diet.” With Food Day, Americans can celebrate our food system when it works and fix it when it’s broken. The typical American diet is contributing to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. Those problems cost Americans more than $150 billion per year. Plus, a meat-heavy diet takes a terrible toll on the environment. “Eating Real” can save your own health and put our food system on a more humane, sustainable path.
According to Nancy Robinson, director of Patient and Guest Services for Baystate Health, Food Day is a wonderful opportunity for Baystate Medical Center to promote and showcase its efforts to support fresh, locally-grown ingredients and its role in support of healthier, sustainable practices.
“We have adopted pledges from the Massachusetts Hospital Association and HealthCare Without Harm to increase our purchases of local foods and antibiotic free meats. As a result, we have increased our local produce and dairy purchases from 6% to 44% of our total purchases in peak season, and greater than 20% in the winter months. We have also reduced our sales of sugared beverages by 35% by offering alternatives that customers like. And we are working collaboratively with our suppliers to increase the availability of antibiotic free meats that we purchase,” said Robinson.
“This year we have also partnered with the University of Massachusetts Amherst in planning our Food Day activities. We anticipate this will be the first of other collaborations with them. The health of our communities and environment is a constant point of focus for us and provides direction as we develop new concepts. Participating in our second Food Day helps us to educate and inspire others in their efforts to improve their diets and to buy local. We are committed to the good health of our communities,” she added.
Matthew Perpetua, manager of Supply Chain & Commissary Operations for Baystate Medical Center’s Food and Nutrition Services, noted it is common that Western Massachusetts area farms and businesses deliver a variety of foods and services to the hospital as part of its goal to provide food that is prepared with fresh ingredients.
“At several times throughout the year, we purchase as much as 30 percent of our foods from local area farms such as Czajkowski Farm and Plainville Farm, both in Hadley, and other farms sourced through a local produce distributor. In addition to produce, a percentage of our milk is also sourced directly from Mapleline Farm in Hadley,” said Perpetua.
“Part of our Food Day activities is promoting the use of fresh ingredients and a healthier diet. Meat, fresh produce, bakery products such as granola and milk that is sourced locally, ensures security for all local suppliers and helps the local economy. This also helps meet our high standards of traceability and freshness,” he added.
Each Thursday in October, chefs in the Baystate kitchen are preparing a healthy soup or entrée made using locally-grown produce for purchase by visitors, patients and staff in the hospital’s Daly Building cafeteria.
Also, on Thursday, Oct. 22, dietitians will staff a table in the North Café from11 a.m. to 2 p.m., where they will share information about the national movement to celebrate healthy, affordable and sustainable food. They will also be giving away local apples, recipes and information on preserving foods for the winter.
Among the printed recipes available to take are: Thanksgiving Lasagna, Black Bean and Yam Enchilada Bake, Autumnal Vegetable Medley, and Butternut Squash Caramelized Onion and Spinach Lasagna – all featuring local vegetables from the Pioneer Valley.
“Americans are not known for their healthy eating habits, contributing to the obesity epidemic, as well as diabetes, heart disease and many other health problems, noted Paula Serafino-Cross, RDN, a clinical dietitian in Food and Nutrition Services at Baystate Medical Center.
“A healthy eating plan includes eating ‘closer to the ground’ with more local fruits and vegetables and cooking from scratch when possible,” she added, noting healthy eating needs to be combined with eating smaller portions to maintain a healthy weight.
To encourage healthy eating, Serafino-Cross said anyone visiting their table in the cafeteria will be eligible for a free raffle to win a winter share of vegetables from Mountain View Farms in Easthampton.
Food Day is a nationwide celebration started by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest.
For more information on Baystate Medical Center, visit baystatehealth.org/bmc.
The Fifth annual Babson Food Day (October 20-21) begins tomorrow! Below is a snapshot of the agenda. For full details and the speaker line-up, visit: http://www.babson/edu/foodday.
At Food Sol, we believe that “food is everybody’s business.” For Babson Food Day, there is no registration, no fee to attend (lunch is $10 for non-Babson) and all 5 sessions are come-when-you-can.
Tuesday, October 20
5-7:00 p.m.: Boston’s celebrity chefs unpack dining innovation
Wednesday, October 21
8-9:00 a.m.: Food business leaders discuss the future of food
10-noon: Food thought leaders share their food stories
Noon-2:00 p.m.: Food entrepreneurs fair + Locally-sourced lunch (lunch is $10 for non-Babson attendees)
2-4:00 p.m.: Food entrepreneurs crowdsource ideas at The Quick Service Incubator (how it works:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZA3FDmqQJw4)
Babson College is located at 231 Forest Street, Wellesley MA 02481. From the Main Gate, you’ll find plenty of signage and a friendly campus to help direct you.
(For updates on Food Sol’s year-round programming and more on what we do: visit http://www.foodsol.org and click SIGN UP NOW to register for our Weekly.)
Please help us to spread the word about Babson Food Day – and we very much hope to see you there!
To Celebrate Food Day on October 24th, Kids Cooking Green- Kid Advisory Sidney Goldinger is hosting an open house at Silk Fields Farm, her family farm, in Lexington from 9-11am. Sidney’s learning the ropes of the farm and provides her bio below. For information, contact Sidney@silkfields.com or her mother Kim firstname.lastname@example.org.
“My name is Sidney Goldinger. I am currently a freshman at Lexington High School. I live on Silk Fields Farm and have learned a lot about how it runs and the animals there, and am looking forward to participate in classes with Kids Cooking Green involving Silk Fields. I’m also hoping to to participate in any part of Kids Cooking Green – I love working with younger kids and cooking!”
Other events Kids Cooking Green is doing that week include: KCG is taking kids from Peirce Elementary After School Program in Newton on a farm field trip to Newton Community Farms. Fiske Elementary students from Lexington are being introduced to Terry Golson and her chickens, then learning how to cook with local eggs. Hamilton-Wenham kids through the Rec Dept. will be cooking with local pumpkins. At the Kennedy Center in Charlestown, pre-school kids will be learning about bees and making granola with local honey. Bee-licious!
A favorite activity you will see repeated across the Commonwealth are cooking classes and healthy recipe sharing.
Many conversations with residents across the state have highlighted the issue of a generation not knowing where there food comes from or how to cook it. As David Crowley describes below Cooking Chat is one such action that is an ingredient to a healthier community.
“On Cooking Chat, I love to show that healthy, whole foods can also taste great! Cooking Chat has hundreds of healthy recipes, and a digital cookbook called “Collards & Kale”. I’m planning to share some favorite healthy, plant-focused recipes for Food Day 2015 to provide tasty and practical ways people can move toward a greener diet!” – David Crowley
Have you ever walked into a grocery store and been struck by the pristine and uniform fruits and vegetables – not a blemish or misshapen piece in the bunch? How different from what you might grow in your garden… there is something wrong with this picture.
Wonder where all the excess ends up? What we learned was in the US alone 40% of our food ends up uneaten in the trash. We all need food and, given that in America nearly 20% go hungry, Bountiful Brookline decided it was an important story that needed to be shared. Our Food Day event – presents “Just Eat It”, a food waste story and panel discussion to look at our systemic obsession with expiry dates, perfect produce and portion sizes, and to address the core of this seemingly insignificant issue that is having devastating consequences around the globe.
Since our founding in 2009, Bountiful Brookline has successfully created and led community programming with local partners, to initiate and support local food growing and access throughout Brookline and beyond. As a community forum – this public event and other current efforts will enable Bountiful Brookline to continue to be a vital resource to Inform, inspire and impact growing settings and solutions for local food.
To learn more visit us @ BountifulBrookine.org and sign up for our newsletter.