Ag Innovations

San Mateo County Food System Alliance

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The San Mateo County Food System Alliance (SMFSA) is a collaboration of community leaders focused on creating a better future for farms, people, and the environment in San Mateo County. Since its founding in 2006 the group has shifted the dialogue about, and the policy around, food system issues.

The SMFSA is first and foremost a place to spur collaboration. In an early win, the group uncovered an opportunity for farming and food access groups to reduce costs by coordinating their shipping from one side of the county to the other. This occurred when for the first time farmers met their counterparts at the local food bank.


SMFSA has focused on both short and long-term changes. In their “Garden in Every School” campaign, the group advocated for garden-based education for both health and environmental awareness. Their work on permitting on-farm water storage has been diligent and ultimately rewarded by changes in State permitting requirements. The group’s farm-to-institution program is among the state’s most robust in connecting healthcare institutions with farms.

Ag Innovations founded SMFSA and has provided facilitation and staff support throughout its 8-year life. Based on principles we have honed in dozens of similar community-based collaborations, the San Mateo group reflects the best of what we have learned about empowering local leadership for change.


“Ag Innovations is an inspiring partner for work that’s game-changing in the way that communities—including farmers and the agriculture sector, philanthropic organizations, food security, food justice and culture organizations, food companies, and those linking environmentalism to economics to the future of food—are thinking about and identifying approaches to sustainable change. ”
Karen Karp, President, Karp Resources

Results


Image representing San Mateo County Local Food Feasibility Study

San Mateo County Local Food Feasibility Study

The San Mateo County Local Food Feasibility report explores how to distribute more local produce to public (e.g., hospital, school, and county facilities) and private institutions.

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Image representing San Mateo County Garden-Based Learning Call-to-Action

San Mateo County Garden-Based Learning Call-to-Action

Garden-Based Learning Call-to-Action urges the community to join the San Mateo Food System Alliance’s goal to establish a garden in every school.

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Image representing Producing, Distributing, and Consuming Healthy Local Food: Ingredients for a Sustainable Food System

Producing, Distributing, and Consuming Healthy Local Food: Ingredients for a Sustainable Food System

The San Mateo County Food System Alliance’s policy brief Producing, Distributing, and Consuming Healthy Local Food: Ingredients for a Sustainable Food System provides recommendations for a healthy food system applicable to any community.

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