The time has come for Asheville to ramp up food production on city land, support regional farmers in meaningful ways and empower residents to grow more food in neighborhoods throughout the city.
In 2013, City Council passed a Food Policy Action Plan. While some notable progress has been made due to the work of the city’s Office of Sustainability and its commitment to partnerships, overall, the accomplishments have been few and the ambition limited.
On Nov. 28, City Council voted to adopt a revised Food Policy Action Plan, one that digs deeper and sets the stage for creative dialogue and innovative policy development to support a more robust food system in our region. The revised plan includes action items to ramp up food production and strengthen relationships with partners by drawing on and elevating community expertise and passion.
Prioritized inventory and assessment work will collect and analyze the myriad of resources already at play in this complex field in order to better understand existing efforts in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. With this deeper understanding, we can build a foundation for ambitious, metrics-based, collaborative initiative development in coming years.
As a progressive city with a “food destination” reputation, it is our responsibility to make an equitable food system a goal and to make food policy and programs a high priority across city departments. We do not expect the Food Policy Action Plan to be the solution; rather, the Food Policy Action Plan is a call to action for city government, an example for the county and an important commitment by the city of Asheville to take these issues on head-first in authentic partnership with the community. Time to dig in!
— Kiera Bulan
Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council Coordinator