San Jose Food Works (2016)

What would San Jose look like if a robust local food system was one of the vital frameworks linking the city’s goals for economic development, community health, environmental stewardship, culture, and identity as the City’s population grows to 1.5 million people over the next 25 years?

The Food Works report answers this question. The team engaged agencies, businesses, non-profits and community groups over the past year in order to develop this roadmap for making San Jose a vibrant food city and a healthier, more resilient place.

Food Works is modeled on exemplary food-system assessments and action plans developed by cities across the country. It builds on San Jose’s existing planning framework, Envision 2040, while drawing from recent studies, such as the San Jose Economic Strategy Report Update, the Economic Contribution of Agriculture to Santa Clara County, and the Santa Clara County Food System Assessment.

The team investigated the economic and policy context of the City of San Jose, interviewed food system stakeholders, and analyzed five primary food supply chain sectors – production, distribution, processing, retail, and restaurants/food service – and other sectors including food-related research and development and technology.

Food Works is an assessment and call to action. It provides a compelling vision and actionable recommendations for a food system that serves all San Jose communities, now and into the future. The report identifies specific needs and opportunities for food system investments and actions, and makes recommendations for partnerships and strategies to initiate new investment activities.  The aim is for City leaders and key partners to use this information to elevate food as a driver to advance the City’s goals for economic development, placemaking, public health and sustainability.

Funders:  John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 11th Hour Project, San Jose Department of Housing and Santa Clara County Open Space Authority, and USDA Local Food Promotion Program

Partners: BAE Urban Economics, The Health Trust

Date of project: 2015- 2016

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