Food System Plan

A Food System Plan, as defined by the American Planning Association, is “a set of interconnected, forward-thinking activities that strengthen a community and regional food system through the creation and implementation of plans and policies.” The overall goal is to improve the well-being of people and their communities by building more sustainable, just, equitable, self-reliant, and resilient food systems.

Many of our clients undertake a Food System Planning process after they’ve completed a Food System Assessment.  While the assessment process helps a community understand their local food system landscape, the planning process provides the policy strategies to address the gaps and challenges identified in the assessment phase.  The assessment is the diagnosis, the plan is the prescription.

NVA provides strategic direction and technical assistance to the local governments, food policy councils, and community coalitions developing their Food System Plans.

We work with communities to:

  • Create a shared vision for the Food System Plan process.  We work with clients to identify the values and goals driving their work.

  • Plan a robust and inclusive community engagement process.  We work with clients to design surveys, plan community meetings, facilitate social media engagement, and deploy a variety of tools to be sure that all community voices are heard.

  • Analyze and synthesize key findings.  We help clients interpret the findings from the community engagement process, and turn those into actionable recommendations.

  • Support formal adoption of the Food System Plan by local elected officials.  We assist clients in navigating the formal public process of Food System Plan adoption by their local or state elected bodies.

About Us

New Venture Advisors is a team of business consultants specializing in local food system planning and new enterprise development.

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Food System Plan Projects

Learn how we have helped our clients with Food System Plans below.

Philabundance Community Food Plan and PCK Entrepreneurial Program

Philadelphia, PA

In addition to providing food distribution, Philabundance’s mission is to drive hunger from Philadelphia communities by addressing the root causes of hunger through integrated service and place-based program models. These interventions known as Neighborhood Thrive Initiatives are designed based on feedback from residents. New Venture Advisors is working with Philabundance to build an equitable food system in the North Philadelphia communities of Sharswood and Hartranft. Through direct engagement with residents, an equitable food system plan will be created for these neighborhoods. This plan will also inform the entrepreneurial programs of the Philabundance Community Kitchen based on demand for small food businesses within the Hartranft community where PCK operates. (2022)

Kent County Food System Planning

Grand Rapids, MI

The Kent County Food Policy Council based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is embarking on a food planning process to identify the key areas in which policy activity can advance a thriving good food system in Kent County. The planning process will include a regional Food System Assessment, a Food Policy Assessment for Kent County and the City of Grand Rapids, and a Food System Plan. The Plan will be based on input from residents in areas such as food recovery, food access, local agriculture, school food and nutrition education in schools, farm worker and migrant labor priorities, processing and distributing needs of Kent County, farmland preservation, and living wage strategy. New Venture Advisors is assisting the Council in leading this comprehensive food planning process. (2022)

Community Gardens in City Parks Plan

Cedar Rapids, IA

The City of Cedar Rapids is undertaking an exciting community-driven planning process to create a vibrant network of community gardens in parks across the City, significantly increasing access to garden plots than is currently available. This comes in response to interest voiced by the community in expanding healthy food access efforts as the #1 community priority to support climate action locally. Leading by example, the City is committed to expanding community gardens to more City parks with a focus on walkability and access for residents who are under-resourced and under-represented. New Venture Advisors will be developing site plans with garden amenities for each park and a management plan for the City to oversee the Community Gardens in City Parks Plan. (2022)

City of Manchester Healthy Food Access Plan

Manchester, NH

The Manchester Health Department and the Manchester Food Collaborative have formed a working group to lead several food planning initiatives for the City of Manchester, New Hampshire. The group is embarking on a community-driven planning process to develop a Healthy Food Access Plan for Manchester that will identify programs and policies to address food insecurity and increase access to healthy food across the city, and orient the working group’s overall planning efforts. New Venture Advisors is assisting the project partners in creating an inclusive process for community engagement, prioritizing goals and strategies, and drafting the final plan. (2022)

Whatcom County Food System Plan

Bellingham, WA

The Whatcom County Food System Committee recently conducted a community food assessment that pointed to key opportunities to build a more robust and resilient regional food system. New Venture Advisors will partner with Whatcom County staff and the Food System Committee to draft a Whatcom County Food System Plan that builds upon these findings. This Plan will focus on six sectors of the food system including fishing, farming, labor, food access, environment, and waste, and will be informed by an inclusive and equitable community engagement process.  The Food System Plan will provide the county with a policy roadmap that will strengthen the local food system for years to come. (2022)

Riley County and City of Manhattan, KS Food System Master Plan

Manhattan, KS

The Food and Farm Council of Riley County and City of Manhattan, KS partnered with New Venture Advisors to complete a Food System Master Plan that would guide the development of a dynamic and sustainable community food system. This was a comprehensive approach to identify policy solutions that influenced how food is produced, processed, distributed, stored, transported, purchased and consumed. NVA and the Food and Farm Council engaged community members and food system stakeholders to inform goals and action steps, and the finished Plan was adopted by the governing bodies of the City of Manhattan and Riley County.  The planning project was funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas’ Pathways to a Healthy Kansas community grant program. (2022)

Download plan here.

Junction City and Geary County Food System Master Plan

Junction City, KS

Live Well Geary County Food Policy Council completed a Food System Plan to provide a 10 year guide for the development of their community’s food system. This planning process provided a comprehensive approach to food system efforts – by identifying policy solutions that influence how food is produced, processed, distributed, stored, transported, purchased and consumed. The Plan was unanimously adopted by the Junction City Commission and the Geary County Commission in July of 2022. New Venture Advisors provided strategic direction and technical assistance to them and their local planning partners in the development of this plan, supported the adoption process, and is supporting early stage Plan implementation efforts. (2022)

Download plan here.

City of Wichita Food System Master Plan

Wichita, KS

The Health and Wellness Coalition of Wichita’s Food Policy Committee is developing, connecting and building a local food environment that creates a sustainable food system to serve the needs of producers, suppliers and consumers. The Coalition is composed of numerous organizations including the Greater Wichita YMCA which serves as fiduciary for the Coalition. By partnering with the City of Wichita to create a 10-year Food System Master Plan, they are guiding the development of community food assets in Wichita, Kansas. A Food System Master Plan process is an opportunity to provide a comprehensive approach to food systems efforts – identifying policy solutions that influence how food is produced, processed, distributed, stored, transported, purchased and consumed. New Venture Advisors provided technical assistance, guided the collaborative planning process, and authored the master plan. (2021) Download plan here.

Douglas County Food System Plan

Douglas County, KS

In 2016, Douglas County embarked on a process to update the Lawrence-Douglas County Comprehensive Plan, set a framework for the next 10 years to guide policy changes by its local governments, to shape the work of the Douglas County Food Policy Council (DCFPC), and to inspire community actions and partnerships. The year-long process engaged stakeholders from across the food system through dozens of focus groups, community meetings, and sector-specific surveys. It also piloted an innovative model of engaging underrepresented voices through participatory action research, where community members led efforts to connect with and engage those traditionally left out of policymaking decisions. The resulting Food System Plan includes specific policy goals, objectives, and action steps to guide the community’s ten-year vision for food system development. This initiative was overseen by Eileen Horn in her role as Sustainability Director for the City of Lawrence and Douglas County, Kansas, prior to her engagement with New Venture Advisors. (2016)

 Whatcom County Food System Plan

The Whatcom County Food System Committee recently conducted a community food assessment that pointed to key opportunities to build a more robust and resilient regional food system. New Venture Advisors will partner with Whatcom County staff and the Food System Committee to draft a Whatcom County Food System Plan that builds upon these findings. This Plan will focus on six sectors of the food system including fishing, farming, labor, food access, environment, and waste, and will be informed by an inclusive and equitable community engagement process.  The Food System Plan will provide the county with a policy roadmap that will strengthen the local food system for years to come. (2022)

 Whatcom Local Food Campus

The Whatcom Community Foundation invests in activities and organizations that improve the ability of people to help themselves, increase connections among people, and take cooperative approaches to community issues. WCF is exploring the development of a local food campus on a waterfront property that would become a multi-tenant site, anchored by a school district commissary. The goal is to strengthen Whatcom County’s local food system by promoting health equity, forging tangible strategic connections between food production organizations, and helping farmers connect with institutional markets. NVA developed the business case for this ambitious project and continues to support its development. (2022)