Strengthening Food System City Efforts with an Inclusive Advisory Board – New Haven, USA

Key Insights

  • Removing longstanding barriers related to regulations, resources, and information
  • Community involvement to encourage the consumption of local produce
  • Enhancing access to knowledge and financial support for urban agricultural initiatives


The New Haven Urban Agriculture Master Plan is a comprehensive strategy spanning from 2021 to 2023. Local leaders are turning to urban agriculture as a potential solution to address issues like food insecurity.

This is specifically designed to address persistent challenges related to regulations, resources, and information in urban farming. Its primary objectives are simplifying city processes, updating zoning regulations, improving access to knowledge and financial support for urban agriculture initiatives, and strengthening ties with marginalised communities. Key components of the plan may involve the creation of designated healthy food zones, the promotion of small-scale urban farms and community gardens, and the enhancement of food sovereignty infrastructure to boost local food resilience.

At the heart of this initiative lies the Community Advisory Board (CAB), which plays a co-leadership role in the planning process. Comprising local residents with diverse expertise and skills from their respective neighbourhoods, the CAB guides this community-driven effort. Ultimately, the master plan aims to ensure equitable benefits for all New Haven residents advancing urban agriculture.

Food Action Cities. (2023, December 5). Strengthening food system city efforts with an inclusive advisory board – New Haven, USA.

Photo by: Martin Nikolaj Christensen through Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Action and its aims

The New Haven Urban Agriculture Master Plan aims to tackle persistent issues related in urban farming, with a broader mission to foster an environmentally sustainable and socially just food system. The City of New Haven envisions equitable benefits for all residents in the urban agricultural development. The Community Advisory Board (CAB) plays a central role in co-leading the planning process, comprising residents with expertise and skills from diverse neighbourhoods. The selection process ensures representation from low income communities and those impacted by racism. The aim of CAB is to create an infrastructure that will increase the supply of fresh nutritious food to further support the economic growth and wellbeing in low income neighbourhoods.The CAB includes experts in four categories – Neighbourhood, Youth, Farming, and Community Health – ensuring diverse perspectives and engagement in creating an accessible environment for all residents interested in urban agriculture.

When it was introduced

The New Haven Urban Agriculture Master Plan was established in 2021 and runs until 2023.

Why was it needed

In 2019, food insecurity affected 22% of New Haven residents. Local leaders explored urban agriculture as a means to address this challenge. However, residents in New Haven encounter obstacles such as outdated zoning regulations and limited access to financial resources, preventing citizens from fully engaging in urban agriculture. Communities of colour are more likely to be affected by these challenges.

Who initiated it, who is involved

The New Haven Urban Agriculture Master Plan, initiated by the City of New Haven, involves the Food System Policy Division (FSPD) and the Community Advisory Board (CAB). The CAB collaborates closely with the FSPD to develop strategies aimed at expanding fresh food access, promoting community wealth-building, and addressing racial disparities. The CAB comprises ordinary residents with valuable skills and expertise in various neighbourhoods, fostering an inclusive, community-driven approach. The CAB encompasses four categories of experts, including Neighbourhood Experts, Youth Experts, Farming Experts, and Community Health Experts. Most members are from neighbourhoods historically affected by racist policies, like redlining.

Impacts to date

At this moment community-wide meetings are being organised where citizens can provide feedback to the New Haven Urban Agriculture Master Plan.

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Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Food System

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a significant number of interconnected objectives related to agriculture and food.

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