In May, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service, announced technical
assistance for the City of Springfield to develop a food space downtown. This would boost economic opportunities for local entrepreneurs while promoting clean air,
safe water, open space and healthy food choices.
The goal is to build on the success of the downtown farmers market and locally sourced food movement to develop local entrepreneurial food resources such as a grocery
store and a commercial kitchen. New food venues would help revitalize the downtown neighborhood, create new jobs and potentially provide opportunities for job-training.
The city requested technical assistance to create a local food space in its central business district. Local organizations have identified the need for a food space that
would include a commercial kitchen, year-round farmers market, job training, or local grocery.
The assistance was provided through the Local Foods, Local Places program, a federal initiative that helps communities reinvest in existing neighborhoods and improve quality
of life through the sustainable development of their local food economy. This effort will build upon the work of existing local leadership in coordinating local food production,
commercial kitchen availability, farmers markets, nutrition, food entrepreneurship, and downtown redevelopment.
Springfield received access to a team of federal, state, and regional agricultural, environmental, public health, architectural and economic development experts who
helped develop the above action plan, set goals and identify local assets that can support the local food economy and contribute to downtown and neighborhood revitalization.
More about the U.S. Local Foods, Local Places program: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/local-foods-local-places.