localfoods1.jpgMORPC continues to be a leader in local food-system planning, with a focus on increased production, building the supply chain, and seeking way to bring finance to the table. MORPC is among advisors to the Local Food Action Plan being prepared by Franklin County and the City of Columbus, and was engaged by The Gund Foundation to help kick off a regional food-system planning effort for 16 Northeast Ohio counties in 2015. A year earlier, MORPC served the same role in Lima on behalf of Activate Allen County. In recent years, it has shared its food-planning experiences at conferences and in webinars with its counterparts across the country.

When MORPC’s Central Ohio Local Food Assessment (view the Executive Summary or Full Report) was released in April 2010, one of its top recommendations was to establish local food councils to help each of the region’s 12 counties implement the other recommendations. So far, the region boasts six councils and initiatives (Knox, Franklin, Fairfield, Licking, Pickaway and Union), while at least two other counties (Delaware and Marion) have laid foundations for local councils or plans.

MORPC conducted a series of workshops in 2012 to help counties create local food councils and do food plans. With support from the Ohio Environmental Education Fund, that project also included the Agricultural Economic Development Toolkit that offers guidance and shows the economic benefits of local food.

To meet another goal of the plan, MORPC created the Central Ohio Local Food Information Hub website to provide information on local food systems in the region.

The plan was created by MORPC’s Agriculture and Food Systems Working Group. For more information or to get involved, contact Brian Williams at bwilliams@morpc.org or 614.233.4187.

Partners and Supporters

  • Local Matters is a key MORPC partner in the Central Ohio Local Food Assessment and Plan, the Community Challenge grant and other efforts.
  • The Assessment and Plan, and many of the implementation efforts, were funded in large part by The Columbus Foundation.
  • The Gund Foundation has supported efforts in farmland preservation, and local food system planning.

Food District @ Weinland Park
In 2010, MORPC received a federal Community Challenge grant to develop a plan that would incorporate all facets of local food into the revitalization of Weinland Park, a neighborhood in transition just southeast of The Ohio State University. The plan was completed in 2013 and turned over to the Community Economic Development Corporation of Ohio (CEDCO) for implementation. MORPC continues to engage informally with CEDCO as it seeks financing for an innovative food-processing facility that would provide valuable services to existing food businesses as well as new businesses that could be incubated on-site and in other Columbus neighborhoods.