San Jose Food Works Implementation Project

Overview – Spring 2017 


Building on previous work, this project will implement San Jose Food Works recommendations in order to fulfill a vision for a vital food sector that contributes to and is supported by the City’s goals and strategies for economic development, placemaking, public health, sustainability, and regional resilience.


As documented in the Food Works study, San Jose’s food system sectors – production, processing, distribution, and consumption – make significant economic, environmental, cultural and social contributions to the City’s vitality. Advocacy organizations, business associations, educational institutions, City and County departments, and other agencies have numerous programs and initiatives that comprise elements of a vibrant food system. Now the City, in collaboration with key food businesses and advocacy stakeholders, needs to look at San Jose’s food system holistically, in order to more fully account for its myriad contributions, more effectively address its vulnerabilities, better connect food system elements, and more robustly take advantage of opportunities to elevate the food system as a means for achieving the City’s strategic priorities including realizing the City’s role as a regional center.

Partnerships and Funding

  • Funders: Knight Foundation; San Jose Housing Department; and San Jose Office of Economic Development
  • In-kind support: City of San Jose (Housing Department, Office of Economic Development, Planning Department, and Parks and Recreation Department); Santa Clara County Health Department; Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority; SPUR San Jose; Team San Jose; the silicon valley organization; Santa Clara County Food Systems Alliance
  • Subcontractor: BAE Urban Economics

Goals and Objectives

Goal A: Implement and support at least five projects related to Food Works recommendations


  1. Conduct a detailed Wholesale Food Market Feasibility Analysis.
  2. Promote development of food business incubators.
  3. Identify and promote opportunities to grow the City’s economy by investing in food jobs and by supporting development, retention and growth of existing and new food businesses.
  4. Identify and promote opportunities to improve quality of life and public health outcomes by increasing opportunities for all San Jose residents to access fresh, affordable, healthy, and culturally appropriate foods close to where they live and work.
  5. Identify and promote opportunities to advance food as placemaking at city and neighborhood scales: permanently, in development projects, street upgrades, and new marketplaces; and temporally, through food pop-ups, events, festivals, food truck food courts, and other promotions
  6. Identify and promote opportunities to cultivate initiatives and dedicate land for multi-benefit urban and peri-urban food production.

Goal B: Establish a framework and build capacity for ongoing and coordinated citywide food systems planning and implementation.

  1. Foster connections between existing and pending food systems-related initiatives (including pending Food Works recommendations), and across City and County agencies and partners, and with other City, County and regional initiatives that have bearing on food and agriculture sectors.
  2. Explore the need and opportunity for establishing/institutionalizing food systems planning at the city level and/or for advancing and coordinating San Jose food systems work in an informal network context.
  3. Identify and, as feasible, procure the financial resources and partnership commitments for continued implementation of Food Works projects and, if warranted, establish an overall food systems planning framework and structure, or network, in 2018 and beyond.