Date of Award

6-2012

Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning

Department

City and Regional Planning

Advisor

Kelly Main

Abstract

This project examines food systems and hunger in relation to city planning, and results in a draft strategic plan to address the food security and nutritional needs of San Luis Obispo County’s most vulnerable residents. This Draft Plan is submitted to the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County as part of the Hunger-Free Community Project.

The Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County was the lead agency of a USDA Hunger-Free Communities planning grant awarded in 2011. With this grant, the Food Bank convened a group of stakeholders to form the San Luis Obispo County Food System Coalition, and worked with community partners to conduct three studies on existing food resources, food security, and nutritional need in San Luis Obispo County. The outcome of this project is a draft of the third component of the grant – the creation of a strategic plan to address hunger and improve nutrition in San Luis Obispo County.

San Luis Obispo County is a rural region rich in agricultural production, but hunger is a growing problem in the County indicating deficiencies in the local food system. One in six residents do not know where their next meal will come from. A high cost of living coupled with many low-wage jobs leaves many residents with few financial resources from which to provide food and other basic necessities.

This project reviewed current professional and academic literature on food systems, hunger, and planning; conducted a case study analysis on existing hunger plans; compiled a background report on the existing hunger situation and community needs in the County; and worked with the San Luis Obispo County Food System Coalition to create the Draft Hunger-Free Community Plan for San Luis Obispo County. The Draft Plan and Background Report are organized into five themes: Food Access, Nutrition & Hunger, Local Agriculture, Community Resources and the SLO County Food System Coalition. As this plan is only a draft, the next steps that need to be taken before final adoption of the plan are outlined. This plan is a community plan; it will require the work and support of many organizations and agencies to effectively end hunger in the County.