Eating Here: Greater Philadelphia's Food System Plan

Update to Eating Here

DVRPC released Eating Here: Greater Philadelphia's Food System Plan in 2011 to help establish a vision for our regional food system and craft recommendations to enable our region to collectively achieve the vision and goals described in the plan. Since then, food system stakeholders have been working to implement a number of changes in our food system - from supporting beginning farmers with apprentice programs to increasing access to healthy food through school breakfast program or corner store improvements.

To capture the scope of changes to the Greater Philadelphia Food System and understand the challenges and opportunities that the food system faces today, DVRPC is conducting an update to Eating Here. DVRPC will use recently released 2012 Census of Agriculture data to assess how the region has fared based on the 10 indicators selected in the first release of the plan, while considering new indicators that may better capture the improvements that we want to see in our food system. DVRPC will also assess the state of the 52 recommendations made in the original plan. DVRPC will use one-on-one interviews and online surveys to gather stakeholder feedback to determine which recommendations are no longer relevant, which have made progress, and which have been completed. Finally, DVRPC will work with stakeholders to develop new recommendations to meet the new challenges facing the Greater Philadelphia food system today.

DVRPC is currently in the process of collecting stakeholder feedback. We encourage you to complete the surveys below to help us better understand the state of the food system today. We will collect the results of the survey between November 2014 and May 2015. We will report the results of the survey to stakeholders at a Greater Philadelphia Food System Stakeholder Committee Meeting in May 2015.

Thanks for your continued support!

Update to Eating Here Surveys


Food, a good produced, consumed, and shipped throughout our region, is a major component of our region's transportation, land use, energy, and environmental systems. DVRPC's Eating Here: Greater Philadelphia's Food System Plan will identify a set of shared values and goals, key indicators, and recommendations for a more sustainable food system.

Through the plan, DVRPC and the Greater Philadelphia Food System Stakeholder Committee will seek to:

  • Support local agriculture and grow the local food economy while improving profitability for farmers.
  • Protect the environment.
  • Ensure safety, security, and healthfulness of food and the food supply.
  • Improve nutrition and reduce obesity and preventable diseases.
  • Ensure residents of the region have access to enough nutritious food to eat.
  • Encourage collaboration between individuals, organizations, and government agencies.

Values and Goals

To achieve our goals of building a sustainable and resilient food system, we have based our recommendations around six core values:

icon Farming and Sustainable Agricultureicon Health
icon Ecological Stewardship and Conservationicon Fairness
icon Economic Developmenticon Collaboration


The Plan identifies 10 indicators that can be used to illustrate the impact of past and ongoing changes to regional, national, and global food systems; illuminate trends in food systems; and help hypothesize what other changes or interventions are needed to shift indicators and create a regional food system that reflects the stakeholder's values, vision, and goals.

  • Land in production
  • Profitability of farming
  • Surface water quality
  • Farmland preservation
  • Employment in the food system
  • Food and farmworker wages
  • Healthy food purchases
  • Health of residents
  • Affordability of healthy food
  • Food insecurity

Top Recommendations

The plan's 52 recommendations include policy reforms, expansions of current initiatives and programs, and new approaches and innovations. The following are the Plan's Top Recommendations for the region:

  • Access to affordable farm land: Maintain affordable land for farmers through a range of potential innovations and new business models. These include addressing the retirement needs of farmers, identifying opportunities to transition preserved land into food production, and creating investment vehicles for long-term agricultural production on preserved land.
  • Natural resource protection through markets: Develop technical assistance programs or market-based solutions that enable farmers to protect natural resources.
  • Agricultural enterprise development: Create or expand new and specialized programs to reduce the barriers of entry for new food entrepreneurs and new, beginning, and minority farmers, and encourage value-added activities. Examples include training programs and revolving loan, micro-loan, and low-interest loan funds.
  • Healthy food awareness and access: Promote the use of new technology and community-based communication outlets by all partners- government, private sector, and nonprofits- to educate people about healthy food.
  • School system solutions: Integrate all aspects of Farm to School programs into a robust and comprehensive education program.
  • Regional convening and increased collaboration: Continue to convene the Greater Philadelphia Food System Stakeholder Committee and encourage shared efforts.

Eating Here follows up on the Commission's first phase of food system planning, the Greater Philadelphia Food System Study, a large surveying effort and analysis that identified prominent stakeholders, successful programs, regional competitive advantages, recommendations for improvement, and differing interests.

Development of Eating Here: Greater Philadelphia's Food System Plan was funded by DVRPC's work program with generous support from the G. R. Dodge Foundation.

Eating Here publications

Eating Here: The Greater Philadelphia Food System Plan
Eating Here: Cultivating a Robust Food System in Greater Philadelphia - Summary