26 communities selected to develop local food projects, encourage economic expansion
Local Foods, Local Places Initiative encourages creative economic development in 26 communities in 19 states (Wyoming isn’t one of them, but we think the idea is great)
by Environmental Protection Agency
December 3, 2014
WASHINGTON – Today (Wednesday, Dec. 3), on behalf of the White House Rural Council, six federal agencies joined to announce 26 communities selected to participate in Local Foods, Local Please, a federal initiative providing technical support, to integrate local food systems into community economic action plans. Under this effort, a team of agricultural, transportation, environmental, public health and regional economic experts will work directly with the communities to develop specifically identified local food projects. Project proposals include repurposing vacant land into local food production, developing year-round retail markets for local food products, and establishing food hubs to increase local food supply chains.
USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Affairs Doug O’Brien and Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl made the announcement in Wheeling, W.Va. Wheeling will receive Local Foods, Local Places support to transition the historic and underused Vineyard Hill, into a productive regional hub for diversified local food production and value added products. The officials will also visit Youngstown, OH, which will receive Local Foods, Local Places support to reclaim vacant property for local food production.
Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Christopher Masingill announced seven communities in four states that will be receiving Local Foods, Local Places technical support in the Delta region via conference call. Projects in these communities will include efforts to create a local food network, establish a regional food innovation center and develop job training efforts around local food entrepreneurship. A complete list of communities participating in the Local Foods, Local Places Initiative is available here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/lflp_community_list.pdf
"The Local Foods, Local Places initiative illustrates that communities are thinking about creative ways to integrate local food in their community economic development plans," said USDA's Deputy Under Secretary Doug O’Brien. "The projects developed via Local Foods, Local Places will revitalize rural Main Streets and urban downtown areas, and create market opportunities for food producers and entrepreneurs."
"Our agencies are working together to make a visible difference in communities," said EPA Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg. "By promoting farmers markets, community kitchens, and other efforts to increase access to healthy food, we are supporting local businesses in struggling downtown neighborhoods and preserving farms and undeveloped land. It’s good for people’s health, good for the economy, and good for the environment."
"The Local Foods, Local Places Initiative recognizes the relationship between available transportation and the health and well-being of our communities. This collaboration provides local communities an opportunity to transform vacant spaces into vibrant spaces, which will provide better food options and better mobility for their residents," said U.S. DOT Undersecretary Peter Rogoff.
ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl said, "Appalachian communities recognize the role food systems can play in downtown development and revitalization. Local Foods, Local Places will provide the technical resources to take ideas and put them into a plan. ARC is pleased to provide the funding that will support implementation of the plans developed by the eight Appalachian communities."
"As a region historically centered on agriculture, it is important to strengthen and grow the local food systems that have supported the Delta communities and this country for centuries," said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill. "The Delta Regional Authority is proud to support this innovative program which is in an investment into community health and economic growth for workers, businesses and families in the Delta region."
Local Foods, Local Places is a partnership among USDA, EPA, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The initiative draws on the Administration’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities, USDA’s Seven Strategies for Economic Development and other place-based strategies to address regional challenges. The 26 Local Foods, Local Places communities were chosen from among 316 applicants. The initiative is jointly funded at $800,000. This amount, and the projects it will support, will make a significant impact in communities involved in the Local Foods, Local Places initiative.
USDA Secretary Vilsack identified strengthening local food systems as one of the four pillars of USDA's commitment to rural economic development, along with production agriculture (including expanding export markets and improving research), promoting conservation and outdoor recreation opportunities, and growing the biobased economy. Local Foods, Local Places is part of USDA’s commitment to support local and regional food systems. USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative coordinates the Department’s policy, resources, and outreach efforts related to local and regional food systems.
More about the initiative: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/12/03/local-food-local-places-bringing-expertise-and-creative-thinking-community-economic-
About the White House Rural Council
To address challenges in Rural America, build on the administration's rural economic strategy, and improve the implementation of that strategy, the president signed an executive order establishing the White House Rural Council. The council coordinates the administration's efforts in rural America by streamlining and improving the effectiveness of federal programs serving rural America; engage stakeholders, including farmers, ranchers, and local citizens, on issues and solutions in rural communities; and promoting and coordinating private-sector partnerships. The work of the White House Rural Council and USDA to bring investment to rural America is an example of how the Administration is creating smart partnerships with the private sector to better support Americans in all parts of the country.
Local Foods, Local Places states & communities
DoT, DRA, ARC, and CDC) selected 26 communities to participate in Local Foods,
Local Places, a federal initiative providing direct technical support and expertise to
community partners integrating local food systems into regional economic action plans.
Under this effort, a team of federal agricultural, transportation, environmental, public
health and regional economic experts will work directly with communities to develop
specific local food projects. These efforts will make a significant impact in the
communities participating in the Local Foods, Local Places initiative.
Tuskegee, Alabama will receive technical assistance to pursue a plan for economic
development and food security through downtown revitalization and regional marketing
Ajo, Arizona will receive technical assistance to develop and implement an action plan
promoting local foods and entrepreneurship in order to create an economically vibrant
The Flippin School District in Flippin, Arkansas will receive technical assistance to
transition chronically empty properties adjacent to the high school parking lot into a
The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub and the community of North Little Rock,
Arkansas will receive technical assistance to create a Regional Food Innovation Center.
The center will increase downtown development opportunities by supporting food
entrepreneurs and creating a market for local rural farmers.
Osceola, Arkansas will receive technical assistance to connect the downtown historic
district with local food opportunities.
The Youth Policy Institute in Los Angeles, California will receive technical assistance to
create a community-supported agriculture program that can improve the health of low-income residents by increasing access to local foods, boost economic opportunities for
farmers and producers in the region, and help revitalize distressed neighborhoods.
Barbourville, Kentucky will receive technical assistance to expand its current farmers
market into a permanent facility where local farmers, gardeners, crafters, entrepreneurs,
and consumers can interact and local community organizations can meet.
Hazard, Kentucky will receive technical assistance to establish and sustain the Eastern
Kentucky Food and Farm Hub, a local food aggregation and distribution center located
in the downtown that will serve the area within a 50-mile radius.
Lafayette, Louisiana will receive technical assistance to develop rural-urban
partnerships with neighboring parishes to support a regional food alliance that can
improve the regional economy, public health, and sustainability.
The Friends of Lafitte Corridor in New Orleans, Louisiana will receive technical
assistance to create a permanent farmers market structure on its site, where farmers
and gardeners growing food along the Lafitte Greenway can sell their harvest several
times a week.
Unity, Maine will receive technical assistance to create a more connected, walkable
community; better market the community’s agricultural character; and create a local
food system that serves all residents.
Clarksdale, Mississippi will receive technical assistance to develop a job training
program based on vegetable farming and community gardens that will supply food for a
farmers market and a café.
Itta Bena, Mississippi will receive technical assistance to create a permanent grocery
store and lasting local food network.
Jefferson City, Missouri will receive technical assistance to increase access to locally
grown food and products in a way that supports local farmers and businesses and helps
to make the downtown a vibrant neighborhood.
The Churchill Economic Development Authority in Fallon, Nevada will receive technical
assistance to create a local foods hub in an abandoned grocery store in the historic
Canton, New York will receive technical assistance to build a robust, equitable, and
environmentally sound local food system that can help downtown revitalization efforts.
Rocky Mount, North Carolina will receive technical assistance to explore opportunities to establish a new farmers market in an economically challenged part of the city, and to
develop urban community gardens on former brownfield sites and FEMA buyout lots
and nearby affordable housing developments.
The Choctaw Nation in Idabel, Oklahoma will receive technical assistance to showcase
local food with nutrition education in conjunction with the creation of a downtown
Youngstown, Ohio will receive technical assistance to integrate its local food activities
into the larger neighborhood revitalization efforts currently underway in the city.
The Rodale Institute will receive technical assistance to create a strategic plan to
transform Allentown, Pennsylvania into an urban agricultural center that includes a citywide network of community gardens, farmers markets, and programming to promote
healthy living and eating.
Forest County, Pennsylvania will receive technical assistance to connect its downtown
revitalization efforts in Tionesta and Marienville with the county’s rich agricultural
Tracy City, Tennessee will receive technical assistance to develop a comprehensive,
cohesive regional plan for economic stability that connects organizations and
stakeholders involved in the region’s local food economy.
Vinton, Texas will receive technical assistance to create the Village of Vinton Farmers’
market and Community Garden. By creating a physical space where Vinton residents
can interact and gain access to fresh, locally produced food, the Village of Vinton will
take the first steps in a multi-phase plan toward more economic opportunities for
residents in the region.
Wheeling, West Virginia will receive technical assistance to develop historic Vineyard
Hill into a productive public asset and to transform Wheeling into a regional hub for local
Williamson, West Virginia will receive technical assistance to establish a Health
Innovation Hub that brings local foods to market to improve the health of residents while
building a vibrant local economy.
Loyal, Wisconsin will receive technical assistance to help the Loyal Farmer’s Plaza
develop in a way that revitalizes the community’s downtown
Editor’s note: We'd like to see expanding this concept to reaching smaller scale and individual operations, and designed for colder and dryer climates like Wyoming, to encouraging individual greenhouses, town residential yard gardens, community growing spaces or larger community greenhouse operations, indoor hydroponics operations, high-rise and apartment building community rooftop or indoor-designed gardens, school student-operated greenhouse growing and produce-selling operations and educational programs, preschool vegetable gardens, senior center gardens, etc. to encourage people to get involved with growing more of their own food and becoming more hands-on and involved with where their food comes from.