Working Draft: Stage 2 – reviewed by a small group of stakeholders and subject matter experts

View / Download the Sustainable Food System Factsheet

Vision – A sustainable food future for Arizona that is just, resilient, and accessible to all Arizonans where food is recognized as a fundamental human right.

The Arizona food system encompasses a range of activities from production, processing, labor, distribution, retailing, marketing, consumption, and waste and recovery management. All these inputs are deeply interconnected with socioeconomic, cultural, and political influences. Food and agriculture are key drivers in all aspects of sustainability. For this reason, food system goals are cross-cutting across all three social, economic, and environmental sustainability outcomes.

Environmental Food Systems Key Issues

  • Food Waste: Reduce food waste going to landfills and achieve food waste diversion by 50% by 2030.
  • Farmland Protection and Water Access: Ensure the conservation and accessibility of land with access to an agricultural water supply source by 2030.
  • Clean Energy: Support an agricultural system that uses resources sustainably and maximizes energy conservation by integrating on-farm energy conservation and low-carbon renewable energy production by 2030.
  • Climate Action: Support Arizona food producers in transitioning to carbon-neutral agricultural systems and protecting carbon sequestration potential of farmland and agricultural soil management practices by 0.4 percent growth per year by 2030.
  • Agriculture and Open Space Land: Adopt a statewide easement policy specifically addressing carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas mitigation by 2030.

Social Food Systems Key Issues

  •  Quality Education: Ensure all elementary school districts across Arizona have access to culturally tailored farm to school programs by 2030.
  • Healthcare Access: Invest in the health and well-being of food systems workers by ensuring that all workers within the food systems labor force have access to health insurance coverage by 2030.
  • Cultural Heritage Acknowledgement and Preservation: Formally recognize and uphold the knowledge and agricultural practices of Black, indigenous, and people of color as best practices in sustainable stewardship of the land.
  • Food Systems Labor Force: Enhance the quality of life for the Arizona food systems labor force to ensure dignity, with marked improvements in workplace satisfaction and safety by 2030.
  • Food Security: Achieve food security for all Arizonans by implementing policies that address the root causes of economic hardship and maximize access to nutrition assistance programs by 2030.
  • Food Access: Ensure all Arizonans can choose and afford culturally appropriate and nutritious foods by 2030.
  • Reduced Poverty: Strengthen networks across Arizona to grow living wage jobs by 50% among the Arizona food systems labor force by 2030.

Economic Food Systems Key Issues

  • Workforce Readiness: Expand the pipeline of food producers through implementation of programs that support agricultural education and apprenticeships by 2030.
  • Food Producer Business Retention and Expansion: Sustain the economic viability of existing and emerging Arizona food producers by 2030.
  • Quality Jobs: Increase the number of agricultural employment skill development opportunities 2030.
  • Sustainable Tourism: Develop tourism resources that connects visitors and residents to Arizona food system destinations by 2030.
  • Invest in Sustainable Infrastructure: Finance and support healthy food retail, supply chains, and storage to ensure equitable access by all scales of food producers by 2030.


Making Arizona’s food systems more sustainable requires investment and innovation. Solutions for addressing the sustainable food systems issues and goals include reforming and adopting policies and programs that not only mitigate climate change, but that also support the viability and diversity of farmers and ranchers for generations to come by building resilience, soil health, economic justice, and profitability. This includes overarching solutions that:

  • Accelerate investment in sustainable food systems.
  • Support Arizona farmers and ranchers in transitioning to systems that promote climate health and benefits.
  • Support the development of local food systems in the important role they play in increasing farm viability and resilience, energy conservation, and foster ecosystem functions.
  • Promote equity and justice throughout the food system.

How Will We Measure Success?

The complexity of achieving a sustainable food system in Arizona requires a coordinated approach dependent upon interactions across different levels and scales. Measuring performance of success should be made along each dimension of sustainability including environmental, social, and economic metrics and align with Global Farm Metrics (GFM) which may include measurements such as water, soil, and air quality; health and quality of life of food systems workers; levels of community engagement; financial and physical outputs; and levels of food security.

Developed by the following Arizona Food Systems Network (AZFSN) Advisory Team Stakeholders

  • Adrienne Udarbe, Executive Director, Pinnacle Prevention and Arizona Food Systems Network Convener
  • Kenneth Steel, Healthy Communities Programs Manager and Arizona Food Systems Network Convener
  • Liz Taylor, PhD, Principal Green Verde Verte and Food and Agriculture Policy Advisory Committee Chair
  • Dean Brennan, FAICP, Maricopa County Food Systems Coalition (MarCo) and Arizona Alliance for Livable Communities
  • Roseanne Albright, Environmental Programs Administrator – City of Phoenix and Maricopa County Food Systems Coalition (MarCo)
  • Rafael Tapia, Jr, Vice President of Programs, Partnership with Native Americans and Food and Agriculture Policy Advisory Committee
  • Peter Friederici, Director of NAU Sustainable Communities Programs and Flagstaff Foodlink Member
  • Cherilyn Yazzie, Owner and Farmer of Coffee Pot Farms and Flagstaff Foodlink Member
  • Valerie Seeton, Graduate Student, Northern Arizona University