Incorporating Policies for a Healthy Food System into Land Use Planning: The Case of Waterloo Region, Canada
Keywords:Canada, Farm Viability, Food Policy, Food System Planning, Healthy Food Access, Land Use Planning, Local Food System, Public Health, Official Plan, Waterloo Region
Land use planning is a critical tool among the strategies needed to redirect our food system into a new trajectory toward improved health, environmental sustainability, and small to midsize farm viability. We present the case of the region of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where recent revisions to the Regional Official Plan (ROP) now include a suite of specific land use policies related to food. What characterizes food systems planning in Waterloo is the inclusion of both rural and urban land use policies, and close collaboration between the Planning and Public Health departments. This article documents the context in which this partnership took shape, the process of information gathering and community consultation, and the specific food-related policies that were included in the ROP. The relevance of these policies to the local produce auction, community markets, community gardens, and on-farm stores illustrates how policy emerges from practice, and also suggests that policy work is an ongoing work in progress.
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