October 24th, 2014 was Food Day, and Massachusetts helped kick it off in a big way. Buzzing with energy, people gathered at the State House to hear about the Massachusetts Food Systems Plan, a future policy that aims to tackle three major issues: Social Justice, Ecological Resilience, and Economic Opportunity. By making the process of growing and eating food more accessible, promoting environmental responsibility, and encouraging greater community involvement, Massachusetts is laying a solid foundation to grow its already vibrant food community.
This is the state’s first food plan since 1976 and it is meant to last 20 years, so to make sure it is addressing the true needs of the community, the planning committee is gathering input from its most valuable resources: growers and eaters in Massachusetts. Throughout October, listening sessions were held around the state to hear what people value in a strong food network; responses spanned issues of food waste, educational opportunities, farm access and so much more. New Entry plays a unique role in this process of strengthening the food web by offering services like Farmland Matching and a Farm Business Planning course to help beginning farmers overcome obstacles to be successful in farming. We believe in offering this support, because without the farmers there is no food!
At the State House, the overarching theme of the event was that everybody eats - and because everybody eats, everybody has a say. The planning committee is setting up working groups for anyone who wants to get involved in the process of making this food system plan a reality. With a process so focused on engaging its residents, there can only be good changes to come.