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Food System

The Regional Food System Plan is a new plan being prepared to address the food system from a regional perspective, focused on improving access to healthy foods for residents of Southeastern Wisconsin.

Assortment of vegetables on a table

Regional Food System Plan

The Regional Food System Plan will address the food system from a regional planning perspective and is aimed at identifying how to achieve several objectives for the Region concerned with ensuring accessible and affordable healthy and fresh food options, reducing economic and health disparities, supporting locally owned and sustainable farming operations, and preserving productive agricultural land and sensitive natural resources.

Plan Objectives

Key objectives of the plan include:

  • Connecting the existing stakeholders throughout the Region
  • Providing readily accessible and affordable fresh food options
  • Reducing economic and health disparities
  • Improving and expanding transportation options
  • Supporting locally owned and sustainable farming operations
  • Continuing stewardship of productive agricultural land and sensitive natural resources
  • Increasing educational efforts and food literacy

Plan Chapters

The first two chapters of the plan have been reviewed by the Regional Food System Plan Advisory Committee and can be accessed on this page. Chapter 3 is currently being drafted and will include information related to:

  • Population
  • Economy
  • Health & Nutrition
  • Food Literacy & Education
  • Food Security & Food Access (Including Mapping of Food Establishments)


Planning for the Regional Food System

Everyone needs to eat to survive; however, our food system is mostly disconnected from the public eye. The food system is a complex web of activities, processes, and actors involved in the production, processing, aggregation, distribution, transport, consumption, and disposal of food products.

A sustainable food system supplies food security and adequate nutrition for all in a way that protects economic, social, and environmental interests for future generations. The figure provides a visual of our food system, from food being grown on farms to consumer waste.

The six parts of our food system, represented as a continuous cycle from production to processing and manufacturing to distribution to point of sale to consumption to food waste and back to production.

Planning for Food Access

The plan is evaluating how all residents of the Region can access healthy, fresh, and desirable food. Data offer compelling evidence of disparities in the Region when viewing race, income, educational attainment, poverty rates, and health outcomes.

Mapping compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2019 identifies several areas in the Region as low-income and low-access food deserts, i.e. areas where a significant portion of residents do not have access to a supermarket or grocery store within 1 mile in urban areas and 10 miles in rural areas. These areas are located primarily in the Cities of Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine, and Waukesha and increase in size when viewing a one-half mile distance to a supermarket, or when incorporating lack of access to a private vehicle. These areas also tend to overlap with communities of color in the Region.

View Food Deserts Map


Food System Comments

Use the comment box below to submit comments or questions about the Regional Food System Plan at any time during the planning process.