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The ideas, insights, and perspectives garnered through our public engagement efforts have laid the groundwork for the food system plan, and three key directions have emerged as anchors for the plan. Ten priority goals have been identified to support the achievement of the community’s vision for a more sustainable, equitable, healthy and affordable food system. We are currently bringing this draft framework to the community to generate specific policies, programs and actions that our community can take toward a more secure food future.

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The people who plant, grow, raise, and harvest the food we eat are at the heart of our food system. Farmers work in relationship with the land and environment to provide food for our community and beyond. In this section, we explore who grows our food, how it is produced, and the type and quantity of food produced in our region. We also look at what producers need to create strong and sustainable businesses for the long-term.  

Food is an essential component to human life. Being well nourished enables us to sleep well, exercise, perform well at school or work, and live a full life. Even if we ourselves are food secure, the food insecurity of our neighbors impacts the whole community. In this section, we explore the scope and nature of food insecurity in Tompkins County, alongside the barriers to access, and what's currently being done to help residents have to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. 

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National studies show that an estimated 30-40% of all food produced in the US (about 130 billion pounds) is never eaten. At the same time, upwards of 40 million Americans struggle with food insecurity. Combined with obesity rates of 30%, this “American food paradox” highlights the need for change. This section explores current initiatives at work in Tompkins County to divert food from the landfill, remove barriers to food waste prevention among individuals, businesses and institutions, and the opportunities that exist to prioritize waste reduction, feed people and animals, and generate valuable compost.

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