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The impetus for this guide and the work it reflects originated with the establishment of USDA's "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" (KYF2) Initiative. Launched in 2009, the mission of KYF2 is to strengthen the critical connection between farmers and consumers and support local and regional food systems. As such, it is closely aligned with the broader mission of USDA to support agriculture, rural development, and healthy nutrition. While there is no office, staff, or budget dedicated to KYF2, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan chairs a task force of USDA employees representing every agency within the Department in order to break down bureaucratic silos, develop commonsense solutions for communities and farmers, and foster new partnerships inside USDA and across the country.
We consider a food sector "innovation" to be a discrete program, project, or policy that relies on a new business model, or provides new products and services that either deliver or have the potential to deliver significant socioeconomic, health and nutrition, and environmental benefits, with an emphasis on economic development. These can include healthy foods produced entirely in or near a city as well as foods that are produced sustainably, using growing methods that protect and restore the natural environment. Regarding "local food," there are almost as many definitions as there are cities. No single definition, whether based on a geographic boundary or a specific distance, works in each and every city. Thus, the pursuit of a universal definition is of limited value for the purposes of this Roadmap. By comparison, the values of producing food in urban regions are diverse, including the creation of a more self-sufficient food system that is better insulated from global conditions, albeit more connected to local ones. Regardless of where food is grown, caught, or raised, cities can garner most of the economic benefits by expanding the number of local ventures that add value to food through processing, distribution, marketing, service, and sales.
Pathways to 100 provides a high-level map of pathways for municipalities seeking to transform their energy supply, outlining strategies for both municipal operations and for all energy users within municipal limits. The document is organized around a three-step process that cities can use to identify an appropriate pathway forward. These are: 1) map the city's energy landscape, 2) identify available strategies, and 3) organize for energy transformation. These steps guide cities through the key factors that determine their level of influence over energy supply (e.g., state energy policies) and map out available strategies for energy transformation. These strategies range from interventions into energy supply management (e.g., community choice aggregation or utility municipalization) to more traditional forms of influence (e.g., active participation in formal energy regulatory proceedings). While Pathways to 100 focuses on transforming electricity supply, it touches briefly on renewable heating and cooling, and energy efficiency where these topics intersect with electricity supply.
Green infrastructure (GI) is a network of decentralized stormwater management practices, such as green roofs, trees, rain gardens and permeable pavement that can capture and infiltrate rain where it falls, thus reducing stormwater runoff and improving the health of surrounding waterways. While there are different scales of green infrastructure, such as large swaths of land set aside for preservation, this guide focuses on GI's benefits within the urban context. The ability of these practices to deliver multiple ecological, economic and social benefits or services has made green infrastructure an increasingly popular strategy in recent years. In addition to reducing polluted stormwater runoff, GI practices can also positively impact energy consumption, air quality, carbon reduction and sequestration, property prices, recreation and other elements of community health and vitality that have monetary or other social value. Moreover, green infrastructure practices provide flexibility to communities faced with the need to adapt infrastructure to a changing climate.
This model ordinance requires that a municipal public fund create a list of fossil fuel companies that match specific criteria and divest all direct and indirect holdings in companies on this list over a 3-year period. This model allows for temporary suspension of divestment actions when financially prudent, as well as requiring efforts to minimize the costs to public funds. This model also urges fiduciaries of local government investment pools to divest from fossil fuel companies. And this model provides a range of policy options, from urging asset managers of participant-directed retirement funds to create investment offerings that are devoid of holdings in fossil fuel companies, to reinvesting funds in socially responsible investments, to urging credit rating agencies to factor climate risks into their ratings of publicly held companies.
This report briefly reviews economic and finance literature on split rate property taxation as well as a case study of the District of Columbia\'s attempt to use value capture to fund a portion of a new Metrorail station. Split rate taxation charges a higher rate for land and a lower rate for buildings and their improvements. Value capture is a type of public financing that recovers value that public infrastructure generates for private land owners. This report compares a combination of these techniques, value capture split rate property taxes, with other techniques for transportation infrastructure finance and concludes that value capture split rate taxation can balance policy objectives for affordable housing, economic development, and environmental protection.
Water systems in the United States are among the safest in the world and yet, the fragmented way in which most cities have managed water historically is not viable for handling the serious water challenges confronting urban areas across the nation today and into the future. With climate change driving dramatic changes in the water cycle and rendering traditional approaches to water resources planning obsolete, the time has come for cities to adopt more holistic and resilient water management strategies. Based on the outcomes of an October, 2015 meeting of mayors, municipal leaders and urban water managers, this report encourages the pursuit of integrated water management as a pathway to addressing urban water challenges within and beyond city limits. The report explains the concept of integrated water management; illustrates the potential benefits of pursuing its implementation; and provides practical guidance about steps elected officials, water utility managers, and other municipal leaders can take to get started.
Green infrastructure practices provide a variety of benefits across the range of flood magnitudes. Common green infrastructure practices used to target flood management include green roofs, bioretention, water quality swales, and infiltration basins and trenches. While most effective at managing localized flooding, runoff volume capture can also significantly reduce the impact of larger scale riverine flooding events. Recent research on the impacts of green infrastructure employed on watershed-scale flooding suggests that green infrastructure can be effective at reducing peak flows for large infrequent storm events as well as provide noticeable volume reduction for more frequent storms. The ability for green infrastructure to address flooding at a variety of scales can lead to significant reductions in flood loss damages on an average annual basis.
U.S. Department of Energy fact sheet guide to Energy Savings Performance Contracting for governments.
A local government can have immediate impact on the energy performance of one of the key facilities under its control by targeting wastewater and water treatment facilities. Wastewater plants and drinking water systems can account for up to one-third of a municipality's total energy bill. These facilities represent a significant portion of controllable energy usage and offer opportunities for cost-effective investments in energy-efficient technologies.