Food systems planning experts say it’s time to reflect on local governments’ efforts

BUFFALO, N.Y. — On Wednesday, October 18, 2018, the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, the world’s only peer-reviewed journal focused specifically on food and farming-related community development, released a special issue on local government engagement in food systems planning.

The special issue was co-edited by Samina Raja, professor of urban and regional planning in the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning, along with Jill Clark, associate professor in The Ohio State University John Glenn College of Public Affairs; Kimberly Hodgson, founder and principal consultant of Cultivating Healthy Places; and Julia Freedgood, assistant vice president of programs for the American Farmland Trust.

The special issue was sponsored by Growing Food Connections, a national initiative that engages in research, education, and policy to strengthen community food systems. The 11 manuscripts in the issue were selected for publication following an open call for submissions developed by the guest editors, in partnership with the journal.

Collectively, the articles in this special issue illustrate new frontiers in, and challenges to, the governance of food systems by:

  • analyzing how local government policies and plans are being developed to strengthen food systems;
  • probing the progress and obstacles in implementing policies;
  • analyzing how local governments are monitoring and evaluating their policies.

The experiences of several local governments are represented, including those from multiple communities in California; Buffalo and New York City, New York; Cass County, North Dakota; Clay County and Minneapolis, Minnesota; Baltimore, Maryland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Seattle, Washington. Also included are multiple municipalities in British Columbia, as well as Toronto, Ontario.

The journal is open access, which will allow governments and policymakers from around the world to learn from other communities’ successes and failures. That’s key, says Ohio State’s Clark.

“We are excited to work with JAFSCD on this special issue. Many of our authors, and all of the editors, are community-based researchers. Therefore, it is critical that the local governments and partners presented here, in addition to communities across the globe, have free access to these research articles,” she said.

To access the full special issue, please visit:

Portions of this article were quoted from David J. Hill, News Content Manager at the University at Buffalo News Center.  To read his full article on the JAFSCD special issue, please visit: