Signs of Life :: Cities Eat Local

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Cities Eat Local

Increasing numbers of U.S. cities are looking to lessen their climate impact by growing and eating local food.

The city of Berkeley, California, has approved a climate-action plan that sets a target for reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 and includes measures to localize the food sector. The plan will fund new community gardens and park projects, develop a community orchard on vacant city land, and provide financial incentives to restaurants that sell local organic food.


The Future Action Reclamation Mob (FARM) project built raised beds along San Francisco’s Hooper Street. Everyone in the surrounding California College of the Arts community is invited to work on the urban farm and to eat from it.

Photo by Navid Baraty

Last year San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom convened a panel of experts to find ways to make food grown within 200 miles of city limits available to locals. On July 8, the mayor’s office directed all city departments to identify unused city land that could hold community gardens, and required all farmers markets operating in the city to accept food stamps.

The city of Minneapolis recently passed a resolution that creates a local food task force and opens up city land to community gardens.

Seattle is also implementing its Local Food Action Plan. This year, the city committed $500,000 from a parks levy to build new community gardens on vacant city land.

—Jessica Bell is a former staff member of the California Food and Justice Coalition.

Interested? 7 Ways to Get Involved in Food Policy Councils



A prompt from DoGood, an iPhone app designed by University of Michigan students that encourages its 1,000 users to do a new good deed each day.

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