Changing How Communities Get Fed


“Shortly after I took office, we launched an effort to map Boston’s Food System and identify points of vulnerability in food availability and access that could arise as a result of a natural disaster. In mapping their food system vulnerabilities, and understanding their responses to these disasters, we have created a set of recommendations which we plan to implement in the coming years…Addressing the vulnerabilities this study identified is not going to be easy, but if we work together, we will get there…”

Martin J. Walsh

Mayor of Boston

After the completion of our food system vulnerability assessment, Boston was selected to join the 100  Resilient  Cities Network and incorporated recommendations from the study into the City’s resilience strategy. The study also helped inform climate resilience priorities for the Massachusetts Food Policy Council and the Council’s Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan, released in 2015, included a number of recommendations to improve the resilience of the state’s food system. The study also helped inform the priorities of the Metro Boston Climate Preparedness Taskforce, a group of 14 Greater Boston municipalities working to coordinate regional, cross-government action to prepare for the effects of climate change. It identified strengthening the resilience of fresh food distribution centers as one of its three priorities.


Our assessment of Toronto’s food system helped make food a priority in the city’s new 100 Resilient Cities plan. ARISE Canada (Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilience, launched in 2015 by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction) is working with City partners to activate private food companies to address some of the vulnerabilities highlighted in our report.


© Brady Fotolia

Our work was also featured in an issue of the international Urban Agriculture Magazine dedicated to measuring impact: “In the past year, we have seen the development of various assessment and indicator frameworks to help cities to map the current status and performance of their city region food system. With this magazine we like to explore how such assessment frameworks have concretely supported planning and policy, and have enabled cities to measure and monitor changes in relation to food strategies and action plans.”


New work in Miami

Kim Zeuli was invited to serve as a Research Fellow with the Miami Urban Future Initiative (MUFI) at Florida International University in 2019 where she is analyzing the resilience of Miami’s food system.