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City Food Sector Innovation and Investment Report

The "Roadmap for City Food Sector Innovation and Investment" provides cities with guidance for developing a local foods investment strategy and selecting the best investment opportunities to create new jobs and strengthen local businesses while increasing a community’s access to healthy, local and sustainably grown foods.

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Summary

Local governments are increasingly interested in developing their local food systems to realize both local economic and job creation benefits, and also public health, environmental and social benefits. But where and how to invest are often challenging questions for cities to answer.

The cities of San Francisco, Minneapolis, Portland (Oregon), Seattle and Vancouver (British Columbia) released a Roadmap for City Food Sector Innovation and Investment (download). The Roadmap provides cities with guidance for developing a local foods investment strategy and selecting the best investment opportunities to create new jobs and strengthen local businesses while increasing a community’s access to healthy, local and sustainably grown foods.

The webinar on this topic (August 2, 2013), explores a new set of tools developed by the Wallace Center and Changing Tastes, in partnership with the City and County of San Francisco and Cities of Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. This project was funded through the Innovation Fund of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, a Project of the Global Philanthropy Partnership, and the support of the Surdna and Summit Foundations.

The Wallace Center and Changing Tastes developed the Roadmap based on a literature survey that evaluated more than 180 urban, regional and national studies on local food systems, job creation, economic development and financial risk. A key feature of this work is a set of case studies on new innovative food business models such as food hubs, on-line marketplaces, and mobile food markets. The two organizations also developed a set of investment decision-making tools to evaluate the risks and returns associated with many kinds of food business investments.

The Roadmap outlines steps to establish a local vision, inventory and map food assets and gaps, evaluate investment options and manage financial risk, as well as select municipal policies and initiatives that can improve the success of local food entrepreneurs and local businesses. In addition to the Roadmap contents, the webinar also presents a review of the range of local economic benefits of conventional and innovative food businesses found during the project’s comprehensive scan of local and national economic data on job creation and business viability in the food sector.

It is the hope of the project team that these documents will help cities throughout the nation foster innovative food sector investments that would yield sustainable benefits in the form of job creation, higher wages, revenues generated, and increased access to healthy foods among all communities. These are now major areas of concern for many metropolitan areas as they become more deeply engaged in food system planning – an increasingly critical need to help create a resilient food system.

For more information about this project, please contact:

  • Diana Sokolove, diana.sokolove (at) sfgov.org 
  • John Fisk, jfisk (at) winrock.org 
  • Cynthia Pansing, Cynthia (at) changingtastes.net 
 
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