#Community Gardens #Connecting to Community #Eat Local #Farmers Markets #Local Foods
The USDA and EPA are partnering with communities to revitalize local downtown areas and neighborhoods and protect the environment and public health through their Local Foods, Local Systems initiative. The initiative for a federally-run program was pushed by local community members wanting to improve and strengthen their ties to local agriculturalists to better meet the needs of the community.
The program addresses community needs such as reinvestment in neighborhoods, diversifying the local economy, sustaining regional agricultural heritage, reducing food insecurity, and shrinking food deserts (EPA). This is done through community projects such as year-round markets for locally sourced foods, community kitchens and food hubs, grocery store co-ops, improvement of walking and biking infrastructure to make local markets and restaurants more accessible, and community gardens (EPA). Additionally, local food systems such as farmer’s markets and food co-ops are incorporated into the program as a collaborative network to combine food production, distribution, and consumption to make achieving these goals easier.