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Local Food Development

Harvesting a Growing Economy

Consumers in Johnson County want to purchase locally-grown food products, yet we have a $177 million unmet demand for local food in our region. Johnson County is well positioned to support this rising demand by advancing our local food economy.

The Rising Demand for Local Food 

  • In 2015, local food sales totaled $8.7 billion in the United States. This showed a twofold increase in local food sales from 2008.
  • Data shows that farmers who sell into local markets are more likely to “survive” than other farming & ranching operators.
  • Johnson County accounts for 27% of the unmet demand for local food in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The Benefits of Local Food

Economic Benefits

Buying locally-grown food keeps a greater proportion—25% more—of every food dollar in the local economy ($.65 vs $.40, respectively). This helps farmers grow their business, enables them to expand their employment of local farm laborers, and helps prevent the loss of agricultural land in Johnson and surrounding counties. 

Health Benefits

The amount of time between harvest and consumption of many fruits and vegetables affects its nutrient content and composition. When locally-grown food is consumed within a shorter harvest-to-consumption timeframe, it retains more of its nutritional value. Research also hows that buying local is correlated with a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Meeting the Need Through Local Agriculture

1.  Only 101 of our 91,000 farm acres currently grow fruits and/or vegetables 2.  A significant amount of our land (45%) is zoned for agricultural purposes. 3.  Proximity to farmers markets and other urban core positions us well for food distribution 4.  243 farms in our country each profited less than $2,500 in 2012 5.  The average age of farmers in our country is 60.02 years old.

Labor shortages, land access, the age of farmers, and farm profitability are all challenges in our county.

Further Assessment is needed

Johnson County Food Policy Council will conduct a food policy audit of Johnson County policies at county government, city government and institutional levels that affect the production, sourcing, purchasing and consumption of local food.  Policy support ensures our agriculture land is profitable for farmers while still meeting local needs.


PREPARE what you can eat, SAVE what you don't!

Save the Food Johnson County - the Johnson County Food Policy Council (FPC) is teaming up with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Ad Council to launch their national public service campaign SAVE THE FOOD that aims to combat wasted food from its largest source - consumers - by raising awareness and changing behavior.

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Hunger Free Healthcare

JOHNSON COUNTY is served by several large healthcare organizations with innumerable clinics, hundreds of healthcare providers and several safety net organizations. Even with such a robust network of organizations and programs aimed at addressing the food insecurity problem, the need for healthy, affordable food is still challenging. 

Addressing SDOH’s Are Important in Addressing Food Insecurity

As healthcare delivery moves towards a population health paradigm they are recognizing the significance of addressing Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). SDOH’s are conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. Research shows only a portion of health can be attributed to medical/clinical care.

To improve the health of the communities they serve, hospitals must recognize and address the behavioral, socio-economic and environmental factors that contribute to health and how it affects food insecurity of our community.

FOOD INSECURITY refers to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s measure  of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods.

Healthcare Systems Should Get Involved

  • Food insecurity is a social determinate of health.
  • Hunger is associated with serious medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and poverty-related obesity. 
  • Left untreated, hunger will undermine a patient’s health and contribute to the onset – or worsening –of disease that can lead to an increase in hospital readmissions and medical treatments.
  • Hunger increases the cost of health care in both children and the elderly.

Healthcare Systems Can Affect Healthy Food Access 

  • Operate federal nutrition and food assistance programs.
  • Conduct outreach and eligibility screening for nutrition assistance programs.
  • Connect patients with food/nutrition resources.
  • Offer access to fresh produce through on-site gardens and farmers' markets.
  • Teach nutrition education and cooking demonstrations.

TAKE ACTION

  1. Screen patients for hunger and food insecurity by integrating the Children's HealthWatch Hunger Vital Sign™, a two-question screening tool based on the U.S. Household Food Security Scale, as part of annual population health surveys given to children and adults at clinical and hospital visits.
  2. Educate and train leaders and staff on food insecurity and the importance of universal screening. Include corporate food insecurity screening in the institutional workflow.
  3. Collect data to inform programming and public policy regarding the health impact of food insecurity.

PREPARE what you can eat, SAVE what you don't!

Save the Food Johnson County - the Johnson County Food Policy Council (FPC) is teaming up with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Ad Council to launch their national public service campaign SAVE THE FOOD that aims to combat wasted food from its largest source - consumers - by raising awareness and changing behavior.

kansas health logo

Growing Food We Eat

The Benefits of Gardening at home:

1. PHYSICAL HEALTH

Food consumed closer
to its harvest date is
more nutrient dense.
Gardening helps youth
and adults meet recommended physical
activity levels.

2.  CHOICE

Food grown at
home have a more
controlled level
of fertilizers and
pesticides, if any.

3.  YOUTH

Youth who garden
are likely to eat more
vegetables, learn
translatable academic
skills, and share quality
outdoor time with
their family. 

4.  ECONOMICS

Youth who garden
are likely to eat more
vegetables, learn
translatable academic
skills, and share quality
outdoor time with
their family. 

HOME GARDENING benefits you and your family, our society and community, and our environment.

HOME GARDENS TAKE MANY FORMS come in an array of styles, types and sizes, and may be located anywhere from walls to roofs, patios and backyards. Important factors to consider when planning your home garden include sunlight, water, convenience (or nearness to home), air, drainage and soil.

Johnson County has potential to grow food in over 233,000 homes. 

Resources for Learning How to Grow at Home

  • Garden with recommended fruit and vegetable varieties which have been proven to produce. Johnson County K-State Research and Extension has the practical information needed for success. Crop specific fact sheets, educational classes, and experts ready to answer your fruit and vegetable questions. Just contact the gardening hotline at [email protected] or 913-715-7050 or on the web at https://www.johnson.k-state.edu/.
  • Learn to grow food in your garden or on a small farm at Johnson County Community College (JCCC) using sustainable practices. They offer individual classes as well as a certificate program, for more information visit, https://www.jccc.edu/ and search “sustainable agriculture”.
  • Attend a free garden workshop at the Kansas City Community Gardens (KCCG) or visit https://kccg.org/ for instructional materials on low cost gardening, composting, watering and more
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Having clear and concise guidelines around gardening can help clear-up confusion and misconception among homeowners of HOA gardening restrictions

 

Recommendations for Gardening at Home

  1. Ask your HOA for a copy of their by-laws and restrictions

    • Getting a copy of your HOA by-laws and restrictions is the first step in understanding what you are allowed to do in your yard. If your HOA does not provide you with access to their by-laws and restrictions, or if you need help creating by-laws, contact the FPC.
  2. Understand your city’s gardening codes and ordinances

    • Codes and ordinances can be confusing or highly dependent upon your property, zoning and lot location/size. Call your city’s zoning department for the clearest guidelines that affect your personal land restrictions.
    • • Make sure you are gardening on your property. For example, if a piece of land on your property falls within an easement or utility line, it can be subject to disruption or removal

PREPARE what you can eat, SAVE what you don't!

Save the Food Johnson County - the Johnson County Food Policy Council (FPC) is teaming up with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Ad Council to launch their national public service campaign SAVE THE FOOD that aims to combat wasted food from its largest source - consumers - by raising awareness and changing behavior. 

 

kansas health logo

Food Waste Solutions

40% OF FOOD PRODUCED IN THE UNITED STATES IS NEVER EATEN

  • U.S. households waste an estimated 76 billion pounds of food, or 238 pounds of food per person annually.
  • This costs $450 per person, or $1,800 per year for a household of four.

THIS IS ABOUT MORE THAN JUST FOOD

It’s about how our food system uses a considerable amount of our resources. Wasted food translates to $218 billion lost. The financial cost of food waste is greatest for consumers since they pay retail prices for food.

Johnson County Landfill

landfill graph

Food is a major contributor to the waste going into area landfills. A 2016 study of landfill waste calculated that 23% of Johnson County waste is food. We want a community where people and animals are fed before landfills.

How we shop and eat makes a difference

  • Households are responsible for the largest portion of all food waste
  • Because it has undergone more transport, storage, and often cooking, throwing food away at the consumer level has a larger resource footprint than at any other point of the food chain.
trash can image 
Why Do We Waste?
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What You Can Do at Home
  • Consumers’ lack of awareness and information
  • Confusion over date labels
  • Poor storage
  • Poor planning
  • Impulse and bulk purchases
  • Overproduction
  • Shop wisely, plan meals, use shopping lists, purchase accurate quantities, and avoid impulse buys.
  • Interpret date labels as estimates of top quality rather than end dates for safety.
  • Prepare appropriate amounts of food and save leftovers.
  • Freeze food before it spoils, including milk, cheese, eggs, and meat.

PREPARE what you can eat, SAVE what you don't!

Save the Food Johnson County - the Johnson County Food Policy Council (FPC) is teaming up with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Ad Council to launch their national public service campaign SAVE THE FOOD that aims to combat wasted food from its largest source - consumers - by raising awareness and changing behavior.

kansas health logo