Food System Study
The Prince George’s County Planning Department of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission initiated a Food System Study to assess the County’s food system. The goal of the study is to identify challenges and opportunities and provide recommendations for creating a healthy, equitable, and sustainable food system that ensures every Prince Georgian has access to nutritious, affordable, sustainably grown, safe, and culturally appropriate food.
Access to Healthy Food
The first research project under the Food System Study was an assessment of access to healthy food in Prince George’s County. A report, Healthy Food for All Prince Georgians: An Assessment of Access to Healthy Food in Prince George’s County, Maryland, was published in November 2015 displaying the results of this research. The report identifies issues related to demand and supply of healthy food through surveys of food retailers, and surveys and focus group discussions with consumers. It includes research findings on areas with limited access to healthy food, food-health connection, school meals, and food insecurity in the County. Based on the study findings and national and international promising practices, policy recommendations are provided for creating a healthy, equitable, and sustainable food system that ensures every Prince Georgian has access to nutritious, affordable, sustainably grown, safe, and culturally appropriate food.
Food Waste Reduction and Recovery
Currently, another research project, Food Waste Reduction and Recovery, is underway as part of the Food System Study. It will investigate the surplus food and food waste generated in Prince George’s County and existing local initiatives to reduce, recover, and reuse food waste. Innovative governmental food waste reduction and recovery programs around the nation will be explored. Based on promising practices, creative policy recommendations and implementation strategies will be developed to reduce and recover surplus food while recycling food waste in the County and provide more opportunities for under-served communities to access healthy food.
As part of the Food Waste Reduction and Recovery research project, we prepared a survey on household food waste. The survey will help us to better understand the habits and thoughts of Prince George’s County residents regarding food waste. Food waste includes edible food available for human consumption that was not consumed as well as non-edible parts of food such as peels, pits, bones, and eggs. Survey results will be published in a report and used to develop countywide recommendations on this topic. The survey is now closed.
Other completed research studies and plans related to the food systems that are available online are listed below: