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Patrons pick through piles of produce at the Phillippi Farmhouse Market in Sarasota County


The food policies of the Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan were adopted by the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) in the Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) process of the Comprehensive Plan in 2007. They were based on the food policy recommendations to sustain agriculture in Sarasota County by the Sarasota Food Policy (SFPC).

The SFPC was formed in the 2005 spring at the direction of the BCC and facilitated by Sarasota County Extension. To this end, the SFPC brought together community stakeholders to examine how the food system is operating and to develop recommendations on how to improve it. For example, the membership of the SFPC is an inclusive group representing the community foodshed of Sarasota County: small and large farmers, ranchers, horticulture, ag suppliers, consumers, elected officials, organic farmers, grower associations, environmental groups, farmers markets, food industry and vendors, and others.

In 2015, the SFPC was again facilitated to support the BCC for the current Comprehensive Plan Update process. To this end, seven information meetings were held to provide public access and input for food policy recommendations. These workshops were conducted in collaboration with the county’s planning department. The meetings provided a format consisting of short presentations by invited speakers with food policy expertise and a World Café activity for interactive, consensus-based policy development by the attendees. At these workshops, 38 food policy recommendations were generated.

Food policies contained in the current (2016) Comprehensive Plan can be found at the bottom of this Web page.

Vision of Sarasota Food Policy Council

Small and large scale agriculture are important components of the distinctive character of Sarasota County's natural settings and heritage, and their roles are acknowledged in the Apoxsee. The residents of Sarasota County foresee a sustainable agriculture that is capable of meeting the needs of the current generation of farmers while leaving equal or better opportunities for their future generations and for new farmers. Sustainable agriculture provides economically profitable, environmentally sound and socially responsible opportunities that will reduce the ecological footprint of Sarasota County. To this end, agricultural policies are to be enacted to support sustainable agriculture and community food system development, and for farmland protection.

Activities and Projects of Sarasota Food Policy Council

  • Organization of public meetings on food policy in support of the Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan
  • Conducting community workshops, using the 'ReNewAbility' process, for the implementation of the adopted food policies (watch video, below)

  • Conducting a local food system assessment in order to identify sustainable ag economic development opportunities

Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan
Volume 1: Food Policies

Food Policies (view noted sections and pages in the Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan)

  1. Plan Introduction: see pages V1-28 and V1-29
  2. Element 1 (Environmental Systems): see pages V1-82 and V1-83
    1. Env Goal 5
    2. Env Obj 5.1
      • Policy 5.1.5
      • Policy 5.1.6
      • Policy 5.1.7
  3. Element 2 (Quality of Life): see page V1-118
    1. Parks Goal 1
    2. Parks Obj 1.1: Policy 1.1.14
  4. Element 3 (Land Use): see pages V1-226 to V1-228
    1. Future Land Use (FLU) Goal 2
    2. FLU Obj 2.2
      • Policy 2.2.1
      • Policy 2.2.1(A)
      • Policy 2.2.2(A)
      • Policy 2.2.3(A)
  5. Element 5 (Economic Development): see page V1-469, V1-482
    1. Introduction
    2. Economy Goal 7
    3. Econ Obj 7.1
      • Policy 7.1.2
      • Policy 7.1.3

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