Plan Overview

Facilitate collaboration across agencies and departments and seek alignment of policies and programs that impact the food system across multiple sectors and administrative levelsGood Food Governance; Food System Coordination;
Enhance stakeholder participation through political dialogue to build consensus, cohesion, and define shared visionsFacilitate state-wide and regional networking opportunities to include all food system stakeholders, including farm, labor, environmental, health, planning, business, public health, and other sectors, both private and governmentalGood Food Governance; Food System Coordination;
Appoint a food policy advisor and develop a multi-stakeholder Maryland platform or food councilGood Food Governance; Food System Coordination; Leadership/Staffing;
Network/Bodies/Council (FPCs);
Develop or revise food policies and plans, and ensure allocation of appropriate resources within state and local administrationBalance urban and rural interests
Review, harmonize and strengthen regulations
Strengthen strategic capacities
Good Food Governance; Food System Plan Implementation;
Food System Coordination;
Develop or improve information systems for policy development and accountabilityDevelop a digital platform to share templates, policy language, and other informational resources across Maryland
Enhance the availability, quality, quantity, management and exchange of data
Include data from civil society and other partners
Good Food Governance; Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning;
Support food and health mapping initiativesIdentify and evaluate local and state initiatives and civil society food movements to transform best practices into relevant programs and policiesGood Food Governance; Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning;
Develop a Food System Reliance Plan to mitigate protracted crises and chronic food insecurity throughout the stateGood Food Governance; Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning; Food System Plan Implementation; Food Security;
Promote viable employment for allEnsure fair economic relations, fair wages and improved labor conditions within the food and agriculture sector for allLabor/Food Workers; Food Worker Wages; Worker Safety; Wage Policy, General;
Encourage and support economic activities for marginalized populations at different levels of the food chainFacilitate access to safe and healthy foods
Prioritize food related activities that support livelihoods
Food Security; Good/Local Food Economies; Equity & Justice;
Promote networks and support grassroots activities that create social inclusion and provide food to marginalized individuals through community gardens, community food kitchens, etc.Community Food Growing; Equity & Justice; Food Security; Good/Local Food Economies; Food Sovereignty;
Promote and strengthen urban and rural food production and processingUtilize sustainable, holistic approaches
Provide services such as credit, technology, food safety, market access, etc.
Promote production education, training, research, and technical assistance to all farmers, including transitioning, new and beginning, and urban farmers
Support needs for infrastructure, innovative food production and processing, zoning ordinances, equipment acquisition, and youth leadership development
Agriculture & Food Production; Farm & Producer Business Support; Community Food Growing; Food Security; Good/Local Food Economies; Producer market access; Supply Chain Infrastructure; Small Business Support;
Strengthen connections between the urban and rural food production, processing and distributionRegional Coordination; Good/Local Food Economies; Supply Chain Infrastructure;
Streamline local and state regulations, permits, and zoningEnsure flexibility for a thriving local food economy, including value-added processing
Ensure regulations regarding food processing and safety are the same statewide
Train and assist farmers to meet state and federal regulatory requirements
Business regulations; Good/Local Food Economies; Regional Coordination; Supply Chain Infrastructure; Food Processing; Food Safety; Producer Market Access;
Protect and enable secure access to land for sustainable food production in urban and rural areas, including land for community gardeners and smallholder producersAgriculture & Food Production; Farm & Producer Business Support; Land Access; Community Food Growing;
Apply an ecosystem approach to guide integrated land use planning and managementCollaborate with urban and rural authorities and natural resource managers
Incorporate inputs such as compost, grey water, and energy from waste, etc.
Ensure that these do not compete with human consumption
Include strategies for agroecology, biodiversity and farmland conservation, climate change adaptation, tourism, leisure and other ecosystem services
Land & Resource Use; Sustainable Agriculture; Climate Mitigation; Conservation & Land Management;
Integrate food production into comprehensive plansSupply Chain Infrastructure; Good Food Governance;
Assess the flow of food to ensure access to fresh, affordable foodsEnsure consistent access in low-income or underserved neighborhoods
Address transportation and logistics planning to reduce carbon footprint
Food Security; Food Availability (retailers); Public Transportation & Infrastructure;
Strengthen technologies linking urban and rural areasInclude food storage, processing, transport and distribution
Include all businesses, including diversified small and medium scale food businesses along the value chain that may provide decent and stable employment
Good/Local Food Economies; Regional Coordination; Small Business Support; Supply Chain Infrastructure; Food Processing; Food Transport; Food Storage;
Promote the development of regional aggregation and distribution centersEncourage partnerships between local and state government and food and agriculture entrepreneurs to find the necessary land and financingGood/Local Food Economies; Food Aggregation & Food Hubs; Regional Coordination; Supply Chain Infrastructure;
Assess, review and/or strengthen food safety legislation and regulationsEnsure that food producers and suppliers throughout the food chain operate responsibly
Eliminate barriers to market access, including family farmers and smallholder producers
Integrate food safety, health and environmental dimensions
Good/Local Food Economies; Producer market access; Business regulations; Food Safety;
Review public procurement and trade policy to facilitate a supply of healthy food throughout MarylandFacilitate job access, fair production conditions and sustainable production, including the most vulnerable producers and consumersGood/Local Food Economies; Public Procurement; Equity & Justice;
Provide policy and program support for public markets including farmers’ markets, informal markets, retail and wholesale markets, restaurants, and other food distributorsRecognize and incorporate different approaches of private and public market systemsGood/Local Food Economies; Food Availability (retailers); Alternative Food Distribution Tactics; Farmers Markets; Small Business Support;
Improve and expand support for infrastructure related to market systems that link urban buyers to urban and rural sellersBuild social cohesion and trust, support cultural exchange and ensure sustainable livelihoodsSupply Chain Infrastructure; Good/Local Food Economies; Producer market access; Regional Coordination;
Incorporate healthy food access into strategic planning documents and comprehensive plansRegularly assess related health impact indicators
Expand the definition of Maryland’s Complete Streets to encompass healthy food access
Food Security; Good Food Governance; Food System Coordination;
Promote public and private policies that attract healthy food retail to areas that are in needAssess status of recommendations in the Maryland 2012 Fresh Foods Task Force report and Maryland Fresh Food Financing InitiativeFood Security; Food Availability (retailers); Good Food Governance; Food System Plan implementation;
Increase access to healthy food retail venuesInclude state and local transportation and transit systems
Include Innovative technology such as online purchasing programs
Include healthy food incentive programs
Food Security;
Food Availability (retailers); Food Access (consumer); Public transport (infrastructure);
Use appropriate mechanisms and social protection systems to provide vulnerable populations with access to healthy foodInclude food banks, community food kitchens, emergency food pantries, etc.
Ensure attention to the specific beliefs, culture, traditions, dietary habits and preferences of diverse communities
Enable more locations to serve as summer and afterschool feeding sites
Require a universal/alternative breakfast program for schools with Free and Reduced Meals (FARMS) rates over 70%
Food Security;
Food Access (consumer); Food in Public Institutions; Food in Schools; Emergency Response; Equity & Justice;
Promote food assistance and incentive programs that augment low-income households’ food budgetsPromote participation of federal nutrition programs in all food retail outletsFood Security; Food Availability (retailers); Food & Income Assistance (SNAP, WIC, etc.);
Promote healthy diets through relevant education, health promotion, and communication programsEmphasize safe, culturally appropriate, environmentally friendly, and rights-based
Include effective, evidence-based public nutrition
Collaborate with schools, day care centers, grocery stores, and utilize social media
Encourage partnerships between nonprofit, for-profit, and government
Nutrition & Health; Food & Nutrition Literacy; Culture Shift (Good Food Movement); Public Messaging & Marketing;
Address health diseases associated with poor diets and obesityGive specific attention where appropriate to reducing intake of sugar, salt, trans fats, meat and dairy products and increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables and non-processed foodsNutrition & Health; Food & Nutrition Literacy; Nutrition Regulations; Livestock & Dairy
Develop guidelines for public food procurementPromote communication and training campaigns to inform consumers, city planners, food service providers, retailers, producers, and processorsNutrition & Health; Public Procurement; Food in Public Institutions; Culture Shift (Good Food Movement);
Encourage joint action to educate and implement integrated strategies for healthy lifestyles and social inclusionInclude health and food sectorsNutrition & Health; Food as Medicine; Culture Shift (Good Food Movement);
Encourage menu nutritional labeling (Including calories, sodium, fats, carbohydrates, etc.) in restaurants, retailers, and public institutionsNutrition & Health; Food Labeling & Marketing;
Promote a healthy school food environmentInclude nutrition and food systems in teacher training and K-12 curriculum
Address healthy food, sustainability, health impacts, environmental health, and literacy
Assess Maryland Nutrition Standards for schools
Encourage fresh foods and salad bars in all public schools
Nutrition & Health;
Food in Public Institutions; Food in Schools; Food & Nutrition Literacy;
Convene food system actors to assess and monitor food loss and waste reduction at all stages of the state’s food supply chainInclude production, processing, packaging, safe food preparation, presentation and handling, re-use and recycling
Ensure holistic planning and design, transparency, accountability and policy integration
Food Waste; Good Food Governance; Food System Coordination; Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning;
Raise awareness of food loss and waste through targeted events and campaignsIdentify focal points such as educational institutions, community markets, and economy initiatives
Develop a public education campaign to reduce food waste at the consumer level
Food Waste; Culture Shift (Good Food Movement); Public Messaging & Marketing; Household Food Waste;
Develop and review, as appropriate, policies and regulations to prevent waste or safely recover foodAssess the Maryland Waste Reduction and Resource Recovery Plan
Develop guidelines with regard to food safety for food donations as needed
Encourage collaboration between the private sector, research and educational institutions, related organizations, and communities
Include processes, cosmetic and grading standards, expiration dates, etc.
Examine Maryland’s renewable portfolio standards with regards to food recovery and compost
Food Waste; Food Safety; Business Regulations; Good Food Governance; Food System Coordination;
Facilitate recovery and redistribution of safe and nutritious foods for human consumptionInclude production, manufacturing, retail, catering, wholesale, and hospitality sectorsFood Waste; Commercial Food Waste;
Expand Maryland’s liability protection laws for food recovery and food donationsInclude food recovery organizations that nominally charge end recipientsFood Waste; Commercial Food Waste;
Expand new and existing local processing facilities to recover inedible food for compostingFood Waste; Household Food Waste;
Support a food recovery jobs programPartner with existing job training programs
Include veterans and returning citizens
Food Waste; Labor/Food Workers; Equity & Justice;
Expand the “Maryland Farm Food Donation Tax Credit” statewideFood Waste;
Encourage schools to assess food waste and develop guidelines to minimize food wasteFood Waste; Food in Public Institutions; Food in Schools;

Plan Information

CategoryDatabase entry
Plan RegionMaryland
Publication Date2018
Entry reviewed by original authorYes
PDF attachmentView Full Report
Plan TitleMaryland Food Charter
Author(s)Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI)
Author Type Non-Profit
Region Type State
Funding Sources Foundations
FundersTown Creek Foundation
Total Project Budget$160,000
Plan GoalsThe three key goals of the plan’s creation:”1. A more coordinated and efficient state food system.2. Collaborative relationships fostered between food system sectors and stakeholders.3. Equity, inclusiveness, and resilience woven throughout the system.” (p. 5)
The purpose of the charter:”- Educate and inform policymakers of statewide priorities- Leverage and target resources- Garner political will to support food policy issues- Engage new and existing food system stakeholders” (p. 6). 
Intended AudiencePolicymakers, general public, food systems actors, funders
Plan Recommendation Structure6 categories, each with recommendations that include sub-tactics. Categories are organized around area of the supply chain. 
Catalyst for PlanIPHI hosted a meeting with local FPCs in 2014 and identified a need for network-building toward state-level policy change (p. 2 of Summary of Public Input document). 
Creation ProcessFrom p. 12-17:
1. IPHI formed an Advisory Committee
2. IPHI conducted key research & “Phase 1” stakeholder engagement (2015): – Conducted an “environmental scan” and reviewed 18 other charters/food systems plans- Conducted 50+ expert interviews- Released online survey focusing on collective action (167 responses)- Regional convenings with food policy councils/coalitions (70+ stakeholders) to identify goals and priorities- Findings were published in a Summary of Public Input report (attached)
3. Using input, IPHI drafted a vision statement.
4. IPHI hosted a state-wide Maryland Food Summit (2015).
5. “Phase 2” engagement with key systems players towards more targeted alignment:- Hosted a Baltimore “Food System Tour,” 44 food systems stakeholders attended-  Meetings with 33 legislators and staff; 24 non-profit organizations; 3 health institutions; 3 academic institutions; and 16 government committees.- Also aligned their work with the parallel Policy Scan undergone by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Liveable Future (attached)
Theoretical Framework(s) Employed  Systems Thinking
Theoretical Framework(s): Additional Literature“Whole Measure for Community Food Systems” by Center for Whole Communities (2009)
Development Timeline3 years
Implementation StrategyUnspecified, but some recommendations focus on the implementation of the goals, such as: securing funding, developing an action plan, encouraging coordination, assessing alignment of policies, engaging awareness, and creating a media platform.
Implementation TimelineUnspecified
Evaluation StrategyUnspecified
International Development Framework(s)None
Current Plan StatusInactive
Government Adoption StatusNot Adopted
Government Adoption Status (Notes)
Supplemental Documents View Supplemental Documents