Local Food System Planning: The Problem, Conceptual Issues, and Policy Tools for Local Government Planners

  • Robert Buchan Department of Geography University of Victoria
Keywords: Food Security, Indigenous, Winnipeg


Local food system planning was identified in the late 1990s as an emerging and important urban planning object. Since then, little attention has been placed on identifying a robust and comprehensive understanding of the roles and tools local government can use in addressing their local food systems. The emerging literature identifi es problems with the dominant productionist agricultural system, addresses conceptual issues and often advances normative arguments in support of developing and supporting local food systems, but attention to the practical actions needed to address this issue on the ground have been limited. This paper provides an overview of the reported risks (such as water shortages, climate change, peak oil) associated with our dominant food systems, addresses the lack of attention to the importance of subscales within ‘local’ and definition of ‘local food,’ and it identifies the main reasons for considering local food systems as part of addressing the food system risks. Finally, it presents a policy framework along with tools and roles for local government to address local food systems within each of the framework’s categories. The principal purpose is to help advance the local food system work of planners in their North American communities.