Whether directly or indirectly, most policy, planning and programmatic decisions made by a city or town can have an impact on the food system (ranging from farming and manufacturing to retail and restaurants).

The Massachusetts Food System Collaborative, in partnership with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council with support from the Massachusetts Healthy Eating Community of Practice, has developed a tool to help municipal leaders and employees consider the role their city or town plays in the food system.

As awareness of and interest in the food system has grown, residents are looking to municipal government and other members of the public sector to make choices that support principles of sustainability.

The municipal food system tool is organized by key municipal agencies and personnel, and introduces questions to consider in these roles as they relate to promoting food systems.

The tool is not intended to answer every question, but to stimulate thinking by municipal leaders and staffers as they consider how their work and policies affect the food system, and to direct them to resources that can help with that work.

Following these sections are additional guides to help cities and towns develop food system strategies. Included at the end of the document is a listing of several organizations that lead food systems work and can provide additional support. Throughout the document, footnotes include additional topic-specific resources.

The report and tool can be found at mafoodsystem.org/projects/munitool.