Best Practice

GreenStep City Best Practices: Resilient Economic and Community Development
Local Food {BP No. 27}

Strengthen local food and fiber production and access.

Best Practice Actions

a. An agriculture and forest protection district.
b. A local food production district.
c. Performance standards for minor and major agricultural retail.

a. A farmer's market or co-op buying club.
b. An urban agriculture business or a community-supported agriculture (CSA) arrangement between farmers and community members/employees.
c. A community or school garden, orchard or forest.

a. Purchasing of local/organic/humane/equitable foods by schools, hospitals, nursing homes and event centers.
b. Sales of local/organic/humane/equitable food in markets, retail food co-ops, rural grocery stores, urban convenience stores, food carts/trucks, hotels and restaurants.

Optional Best Practice for Step 3 Recognition

Category A, B and C cities: implement this best practice by completing any one action.

Optional Metric for Step 4 Recognition

Metric # 15: Local Food


The goals of this best practice are to:

  • Protect and expand food- and fiber-producing land within and near the city.
  • Increase the availability of locally produced food, and culturally relevant food, for residents and food businesses.

Depending on the specific action(s) taken, benefits of implementing this best practice include increased food security for residents, more healthful food and improved human health, food reflective of residents' cultural heritage, enhanced soil and water quality, reductions in energy use and CO2 emissions, improved wildlife habitat, enhanced community livability and vitality, creation of green jobs, and stronger local economies. For farmers markets alone, of each $100 spent by community members, $62 stays in the local economy and $99 stays in Minnesota's economy. And for farm-to-school programs, every $1 invested in them generates $2.16 back to the local economy according to the National Farm to School Network.

Greenstep Advisor

Helen Schnoes headshot

Helen Schnoes, Regional Marketing Specialist, MN Department of Agriculture: 651/201-6184, 

Connection to State Policy

The MN Department of Health's Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) funds community health boards and tribal governments across Minnesota to increase access to healthy foods.


Major Benefit