Our national food system is complex and wasteful. The average plate of food travels 1,500 miles to reach our tables and over 4 million tons of food is wasted each year. According to the National Institutes of Health, the adverse environmental and health effects of pesticides are becoming increasingly clear. On a positive note, there has been impressive growth in farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture (CSAs), and other outlets for farmers to sell wholesome, unprocessed products directly to consumers. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service has noted a sharp increase in local food sourcing by restaurants, retailers, and regional distributors.

Achievements to Date

  • Multiple weekly Farmers’ Markets (June – October)
  • Farm to School Network provides local produce during growing season
  • Increased access to local foods by local groceries
  • Some local restaurants are sourcing local food and local beers

Challenges Ahead

  • Ensuring the viability of local farming and local food infrastructure
  • Promoting the benefits of locally-sourced food

Benefits of local food infrastructure

  • Local food is fresh, tasty, and nutritious
  • Supports community health
  • Supports local farmers and builds local economies
  • Local food systems generally mean less energy consumption, emissions and food miles
  • Supports genetic and ecosystem diversity
  • Preserves open spaces
  • Growing vegetables at home is more cost effective than buying and helps lower income families gain affordable access
A healthy, locally-sourced meal at a Fairfield restaurant

2030 Plan Goals*

  • 10% of Fairfield residents growing some sort of food at home
  • Local produce/ingredients sourced by 25% of Fairfield restaurants (when available)
  • School gardens at 80% of Fairfield schools
  • Ensure availability of locally grown food choices at all supermarkets
  • Support and solidify Fairfield Farmers’ Markets
  • Expand food rescue program
  • Classes on composting, square foot gardening, raised beds – at least annually
  • Baseline survey and comparison with surrounding/similar towns
  • Create more community garden plots
  • Support “Farm to School” organizations

*Some goals are ambitious and may need more time to achieve target participation rates; others can be achieved sooner. Work on all goals should begin as soon as possible.

How do we reach our goals?

  • Baseline survey and benchmarking with surrounding/similar towns
  • Educate the community on benefits of local food and food rescue
  • Establish food sourcing guidelines for grocery stores and restaurants
  • Develop a comprehensive food rescue program to reduce waste
  • Encourage restaurants to source local produce/ingredients (when available)
  • Encourage grocery stores to feature locally produced food
  • Offer free classes on composting, square foot gardening, raised beds
  • Foster community garden plots
  • Encourage schools to cultivate school gardens
  • Expand involvement with “Farm to School” network
Seven Generations Ahead
National Farm to School Network
Food Rescue US