San Mateo County is rich in agriculture, yet most of the food grown here is not available to our residents. Instead, the food is processed and sold outside of San Mateo County, which limits local access to fresh and healthy foods, increases our carbon footprint, and takes valuable dollars out of our community and sends those resources elsewhere.
A sustainable food system produces high quality food for all, and protects the environment to ensure future generations' needs are met.
A sustainable food system specifically:
- Promotes the health of our residents by increasing access to healthy foods
- Benefits the environment by preserving agricultural land and working waterfronts
- Reduces our carbon footprint
- Creates jobs for our local community
- Boosts tourism and business for our local restaurants
The San Mateo County Food System Alliance (FSA) is the first food system alliance in California. The group brings together San Mateo County food system participants to create healthy and sustainable growing, distribution, and purchasing practices, such as:
- Helping schools, hospitals and government buy more local produce
- Exploring innovative ways to address water shortage
- Assisting farmers with accessing land in the County
- Creating school garden recognition ceremony
Learn more about the San Mateo County food system by visiting the links below:
- The San Mateo County Food System Assessment Report (2014) gives more background on our food system trends, challenges, and opportunities.
- Healthy, Local Food: Ingredients for a Sustainable Food System describes the food system policies that contribute to a healthy and sustainable San Mateo County.
- A Call to Action: A Garden In Every School outlines the benefits of garden-based education.
What Does the Research Say?
- A sustainable food system ensures equal access to healthy, local food and is economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially just. Source
- Over 80% of the crops grown in San Mateo County are floral or nursery crops. Source
- The number of organic farms has increased from 2010 to 2012. In 2010, there were 15 certified organic farms within 220 acres. In 2012, there were 18 certified organic farms within 410 acres. Source
- There are 15 community gardens in San Mateo County.
- Over 50% of public schools in San Mateo County have school gardens.
- There are 27 farmers’ markets in San Mateo County. Many accept food stamps (also known as Calfresh or EBT, electronic benefits transfer) and many accept WIC (Women, Infants and Children) vouchers.
- Community Food Security Coalition’s Federal Policy Advocacy Handbook
- Community Food Security Coalition Policy work
- California Food Policy Advocates
- California Food and Justice Coalition
- CAL-CAN (California Climate and Agriculture Network)
- National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
- Roots of Change
- San Francisco Healthy and Sustainable Food Policy includes model policies and programs for cities
- The Portland Sustainable Food Council provides model policies and programs for cities