Community DevelopmentNews

The Chautauqua County Food Policy Council announces the launch of a new interactive ‘Food System Map’ created to assist community members and area businesses navigate sectors of the County’s food system.

In March of 2015, Chautauqua County was selected as one of eight communities to participate in the Growing Food Connections Communities of Opportunities program. This initiative identified both opportunities and challenges within the County’s food system. From there, the University at Buffalo’s Food System Planning and Healthy Communities Lab published the “Cultivating Prosperity in Chautauqua County: Leveraging the Food System as a Catalyst for Economic Development” report, outlining a number of recommendations to improve the County’s food system. One of those recommendations led to the formation of a county food policy council.

The Chautauqua County Food Policy Council was officially established in April of 2019 by the Chautauqua County Legislature. After careful deliberation, it was decided that the food policy council would be housed within County government and would be made of a diverse range of food system stakeholders.

The Food Policy Council currently operates by bringing together stakeholders within the local food system to strengthen and build healthy sustainable communities.

The food system incorporates all of the steps that food takes – from growing in a field, to your dinner table, and beyond. The food system includes all processes involved in keeping us fed: growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, aggregating, transporting, marketing, consuming and disposing of food.

The new ‘Food System Map’ lists area farms, retail markets, grocery stores, whole sale venues, farmers markets, wineries and more, providing an easily accessed space for community members to find what they may be looking for. The navigation panel provides the opportunity to narrow searches by the specific food sector, such as food assistance organizations or locations for direct sales of locally grown or produced goods.

“Agriculture has always been a critical piece of the Chautauqua County Economy,” said County Executive PJ Wendel. “In order to support and grow this industry we need to look at the entire food system from producer to consumer. This map will be a comprehensive resource for our residents and visitors to find access to local products.”

Developed by the County Department of Planning and Development, the map is an important step in assessing the County’s food system assets. Through developing a wider food system network, the council can begin to address food system needs of the county. Local municipalities, agricultural leaders, and community members are encouraged to contact the council with questions, concerns, or ideas related to the food system.

Rebecca Wurster, Planning Coordinator for the Department of Planning and Development stated, “Chautauqua County’s food system is a diverse regional food system that brings economic, environmental, and social benefits to our local communities. Planning for our local food system must be done in an equitable way. This map will not only help identify our current food system sectors, but will also help identify gaps in our local food system. The Department of Planning and Development will continue to act as a resource, information sharing outlet, and foundation for the Food Policy Council.”

The council currently meets quarterly and consists of members with experience and connections to various areas of the county’s food system. Current members are involved in the following sectors: agricultural production, processing, distribution, health and social services, education, wholesale, nutritional assistance, and local government.

Agricultural producers, business owners and other individuals and groups that feel they contribute to the county’s food system can apply to be added to the Food System Map by visiting:

Community members can keep up to date on the Food Policy Council’s work via or