Virtual Kick-Off Meetings
Two virtual public meetings were held on August 24th and 25th that provided an opportunity to learn about the Region’s food system and comment on the contents of the plan.
This Plan will address the food system from a regional planning perspective and is aimed at identifying how to achieve several objectives concerned with ensuring accessible and affordable healthy and fresh food options for all residents, reducing economic and health disparities, supporting locally owned and sustainable farming operations, and preserving productive agricultural land and sensitive natural resources.
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
- Increasing locally owned and sustainable farming operations
- Continuing stewardship of productive agricultural land and sensitive natural resources
- Increasing educational efforts and food literacy
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 below provides a visual of our food system, from food being grown on farms to consumer waste.
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This Plan will be developed with equity and inclusion as guiding principles so that all residents of the Region can access healthy, fresh, and desirable food. There is compelling evidence of disparities in the Region, between the white population and people of color, in income, educational attainment, poverty rates, and health outcomes. When looking at mapping compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2019, several areas within the Region were identified as low-income and low-access food deserts—areas where a significant portion of residents do not have access to a supermarket or grocery store within a mile in urban areas and 10 miles in rural areas. These areas are located primarily in the Cities of Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, and Waukesha. The areas identified as low-income and low-access food deserts in these cities increase substantially when looking at a half-mile distance, or incorporating lack of access to a private vehicle, particularly in Milwaukee. These areas also tend to overlap with communities of color in the Region.
Click image for larger view
Draft Plan Chapters
Chapter 1: Introduction