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AVL Food Policy Action Plan

Policy Details

Policy Type: Policy
Jurisdiction: Local — Asheville, NC
Status: Passed
Tags: Environmental Justice, Food Justice, JEDI, Land Justice, Public Health

Policy Summary

Asheville, North Carolina’s Food Policy Action Plan, established by Resolution 17-257, aims to create a sustainable, equitable, and healthy local food system benefiting all residents. The plan focuses on increasing access to nutritious, affordable food, particularly for low-income and underserved communities, and supports food assistance programs to enhance food security. It emphasizes growing the local food economy by supporting local farmers, food producers, and food-related businesses, and promotes urban agriculture through community gardens and urban farms. The resolution calls for establishing supportive policies and regulations, revising zoning laws, and providing incentives for food enterprises.

Community engagement and education around food issues are prioritized, including promoting nutrition education and food literacy. The plan supports environmentally sustainable practices in food production and distribution and encourages collaboration among local government, non-profits, businesses, and community groups. Regular monitoring and assessment of progress are included to ensure the initiatives effectively address community needs. Overall, Asheville’s Food Policy Action Plan is a comprehensive approach designed to foster a healthy, sustainable, and equitable food system that enhances food security, supports the local economy, and engages the community.

The Food Policy Action Plan was significantly influenced by local advocacy, including contributions from Black-led groups. Notably, the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council played a crucial role in its development. This council comprises various community members and organizations dedicated to creating a more equitable food system. One prominent Black-led group involved is Bountiful Cities, an organization focused on urban agriculture and community-based food systems. Bountiful Cities actively works to ensure food justice and access for marginalized communities, including Black families, and has been instrumental in advocating for policies that address these issues.

Another important Black-led organization is the Southside Community Garden, which promotes food sovereignty and provides a model for community-led urban agriculture. The garden serves as a space for education, empowerment, and direct access to fresh produce for Black and other underserved communities. These groups, along with other community stakeholders, have been pivotal in shaping the policy to ensure it addresses the needs of Asheville’s diverse population, particularly focusing on food security, local food economy support, and community engagement. Their involvement underscores the importance of inclusive and representative advocacy in creating effective and equitable food policies.


Does the policy solution re-distribute power from mainstream institutions to impacted Black community?   

Yes, Asheville’s Food Policy Action Plan redistributes power by involving Black-led groups like Bountiful Cities and the Southside Community Garden in the development and implementation of food policies. This inclusion ensures that the voices and needs of the Black community are represented and considered in decision-making processes, shifting some power from mainstream institutions to impacted communities.

Does this policy address needs impacting diverse groups within Black communities (Black femmes, Black LGBTQ+ communities, Black immigrants, people in poverty, differently abled, people impacted by justice system)? If so, how?  

Yes, the policy addresses the needs of diverse groups within Black communities by focusing on increasing access to nutritious, affordable food for low-income and underserved communities, which often include diverse Black identities.

Does this policy provide more decision-making power at the hands of Black communities?  

Yes, the policy provides more decision-making power to Black communities by actively involving Black-led organizations in its development and implementation. These organizations can influence policy directions, ensuring that the specific needs and preferences of Black communities are addressed and prioritized.

Does the policy undermine extractive economies like capitalism and restore community power around a local and regenerative economy/ primary production? 

Yes, the policy supports a shift towards a local and regenerative economy by promoting urban agriculture, supporting local farmers and food producers, and encouraging environmentally sustainable practices. This approach reduces reliance on extractive economic models and enhances community resilience and self-sufficiency.

Does the policy repair past harm and uphold civil and human rights, health and environmental protections? 

Yes, the policy aims to repair past harm and uphold civil and human rights by addressing food insecurity and access issues that have disproportionately affected Black communities. By promoting equitable food systems, improving access to healthy food, and supporting local food economies, the policy helps to rectify historical injustices and ensures the health and environmental protections of marginalized groups.

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