Planning for Food Systems: Community-University Partnerships for Food-Systems Transformation
The United Nations estimates that by 2050, more than 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. In the face of continuing urbanization, how will communities meet the fundamental need for good food? What kinds of public policies, structures, and systems will ensure equitable and just access to food? We argue that urban universities have a responsibility and an extraordinary opportunity to help create equitable community food systems by amplifying community-led planning and policy to strengthen such systems. Drawing on case studies involving the University at Buffalo State University of New York system and its community partners, we describe the ways in which community-university partnerships can leverage policy change to support stronger food systems. We conclude with lessons for such partnerships: the importance of building lasting relationships for policy change, shoring up community capacity, understanding the benefits and burdens for universities and communities, and reimagining universities’ responsibilities to their regions.
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