As part of Johnstown’s Vision Together 2025 initiative, the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health and several other community partners planned and participated in the Local Foods, Local Places workshop that took place October 1-2, 2020. This opportunity was made possible through the Local Foods, Local Places Technical Assistance program facilitated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and project partners.

The workshop focused on building and strengthening institutions and partnerships to advance our local food systems, increasing access to food and nutrition resources, implementing place-making best practices, and building a more resilient community food system in Johnstown. The workshop was held as a series of seven virtual sessions to create a community action plan around local food and place-making. The plan is expected to be finished by January 2021 for community dissemination and implementation.

Participants participated in group brainstorming and action planning around the following four community workshop goals developed by the Johnstown Steering Committee:

  1. Improve coordination between community partners to advance food system initiatives.
  2. Increase access to local foods that promote improved health outcomes.
  3. Introduce place-making best practices to enhance Johnstown as a destination for living, working, and visiting.
  4. Help connect food entrepreneurs to resources to establish and grow their businesses in Johnstown.

The people below served on the Local Foods, Local Places Johnstown Steering Committee that helped plan for this workshop.

• Leanna Bird, Project Manager, 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health
• Matt Ward, CEO, Sustainable Strategies DC LLC
• Linda Thomson, President, JARI (Johnstown Area Regional Industries)
• Angie Berzonski, Associate Director, Community Foundation for the Alleghenies
• Ryan Kieta, Coordinator, Vision Together 2025
• Richard Burkert, President / CEO, JAHA (Johnstown Area Heritage Association)
• Sue Mann, President, 1889 Foundation
• Jeannine McMillan, Executive Director, Jefferson Center for Population Health
• Karen Struble-Meyers, Executive Director, United Way of the Laurel Highlands

Workshop participants included representatives from the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank, Pasa Sustainable Agriculture, PA Farm Bureau, PA Farm Link, NAACP Johnstown, Valewood Farms, Cambria County Backpack Project, Sandyvale Memorial Gardens & Conservancy, Gtr Johnstown School District/Communities in Schools, PA Dpt of Agriculture, St Vincent DePaul, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, Penn State Extension, local farmers, and more.

Click here to view the virtual Johnstown community food tour that was shared during the workshop.