New England Food Policy: Building a Sustainable Food System

This report contributes to efforts across New England to promote a more regionally focused, healthier, economically vibrant, resilient, just and environmentally sustainable food system for New England. It reflects the collaborative work of three partners: American Farmland Trust (AFT); Conservation Law Foundation (CLF); and Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG). As co-leaders of a two-year New England regional food system policy project, AFT, CLF and NESAWG analyzed policy barriers and gaps around increasing production and consumption of New England-sourced food consistent with the New England Food Vision. This analysis, along with policy suggestions, is presented here. It constitutes the first phase of the project. Its purpose is to provide groups and advocates with information, support and inspiration to promote local, state, regional and federal policy changes that could have the most significant impact on expanding production, strengthening food supply chains and enhancing multistate cooperation toward a more robust and resilient regional food system.

The report is intended as a tool to guide citizens, organizations, coalitions, agencies and policymakers to pursue supportive public policies and remove policy barriers. It focuses on public policy issues in five areas:

  • Land: Reducing Conversion, Increasing Permanent Protection and Expanding Access
  • Food Production
  • Food Safety, Processing, Aggregation and Distribution
  • Markets
  • Waste Streams

In each of the five sections, the authors present policy suggestions to address the identified barriers and gaps. We focus on state-level policy but also draw attention to federal policy challenges where these surfaced.