Building Local Food Connections is a 100 page assessment of the Concord food system. This report, completed in 2012 by two graduate students, is full of well researched data and stories provided by a broad cross-section of the Concord community. Concord's Community Food Assessment is complete with gorgeous pictures, rich profiles and history, graphs, charts, informative data, and recommendations about the unique and vibrant Concord food system.
In 2013, the steering committee for the report project establish an ad hoc food council (as recommended and defined in the report). In 2016 the Concord Food Council became the Concord Food Collaborative.
In December 2012, report authors Christina Gibson and Jamie Pottern received an American Planning Association Student Project Award! Pictured L to R: Christina Gibson, Marcia Rasmussen (Dir of Concord Town Planning and Land Management) and Jamie Pottern.
Report Background and Details
What is a Community Food Report?
In every town, people eat. Food is imported, distributed, bought, and depending on the town, locally grown.
What do we know about Concord's food story? Who is producing food? Who is eating that food? How many are hungry? How many are fed through an institution (school, hospital, retirement home, etc)? How much arable land is there? Where are the redundancies, opportunities, synergies in our food system? How does Concord's food system relate to the broader region?
How a Community Food System Works Poster from Yes! Magazine
A community food assessment will help us to answer these questions. Working with the Conway School, we will gather information about the existing conditions of our local food system. This information will be used to create a detailed picture of Concord's food story. The report will also help to develop a broader community awareness about our local food story and inform decision-making related to issues including access to affordable, healthy, fresh food produced in a sustainable and humane way, food literacy, agricultural viability and environmental regeneration.
To learn more about community food assessments you can:
What does the Concord Report Include?
• The potential for food production within Concord (to include large scale and small- kitchen gardens, etc.
• An analysis of open space (both private and public) and how different patterns may be conducive to different kinds of production
• An approximation of the broader foodshed from which Concord residents draw their food (and an overview of the general kinds of foods being used) as well as where food produced in Concord is distributed
• The kinds of social and ecological systems that might be created (or already exist) to effectively support food production in the town
• The important questions or kinds of more detailed data that should be explored in future phases of the development of this plan
• A depiction of the demographic view of food needs in Concord
• Recommendations for innovation, partnerships, and collaborations that will improve or make more sustainable the current food system
Why Produce a Community Food Report?
An assessment can lead to important changes in the community’s food system, such as better food access for low-income people, local economic development, diminished impact on the environment, and improved public health.
A Community Food Report provides a point from which to grow, develop, and measure innovations in the food system- what will the Concord food system look like in 2015? What % of food consumed will be produced locally? To what extent will Concord impact the food and hunger demands in Middlesex County and beyond?
Also, a food report (and the process that produces it) makes a community more prepared for unforeseen or foreseen disruptions in the food system: weather, oil, water, energy. Having a view of the food picture, and the associated people involved and responsible, puts a community ahead of finding solutions and strategies if ever there was a disruption to the food system.
The project was born from conversations with the the school and Concord resident Brooke Redmond of the Farm-Based Education Association (FBEA), a project of Shelburne Farms, and Wayne Castonguay of the Trustees of Reservations Center for Agriculture and the Environment. Wayne and Brooke have worked together since 2004 as founding partners of the FBEA, the Massachusetts Network of Farm-Based Educators, and Battle Road Farms in Concord. This project will leverage off the terrific Food for Thought work of the past year.
Where can you get a copy?
More than 100 copies are in the process of being distributed around town.
In this first phase of distribution, here is where you can find/borrow a copy:
Several local businesses and organizations have donated funding to print the 100 copies being distributed by the Interim Food Council (see below).
--> View a PDF of the Report (low resolution)
--> Purchase a Copy
Copies of the report are $26.50 (sales tax included) and can be picked up at Alphagraphics in Concord or mailed (for an additional $3.50)
Printing Copies for the Community
Thank you: Alphagraphics, the Concord Town Planning office, Debra's Natural Gourmet, the League of Women Voters Concord-Carlisle, MA, the Minute Man National Historical Park,ConcordCAN, Growing for Good and the thoughtful individuals who have generously contributed to the report printing costs to date.
*Alphagraphics will be fulfilling the printing orders.