Food Policy Councils Foster Better Communication

Food policy councils are a new way to bring together coalitions that are working toward the promotion of locally grown foods, and the creation of school nutrition programs and food security task forces.

| December 2008/January 2009

The food policy councils foster better communication between public officials and hunger advocates.

Food Policy Councils Improve Communication

Food policy councils (FPCs) could be an answer to hunger issues, according to World Hunger Year (WHY), an organization that helps provide solutions to hunger and poverty. A food policy council is usually commissioned by the state or local government, and it helps bring together public officials and anti-poverty activists.

The first FPC started about 20 years ago in Knoxville, Tenn., but in the last five years, they have really started to take off. There are about 50 councils today nationwide. Because no U.S. city, state or county has a Department of Food, food councils are one of the only ways for officials and the public to work together on food system issues. They bring together coalitions that are working toward the same goals, which, among others, include promoting locally grown foods, creating school nutrition programs and creating state food security task forces.

Because of the importance placed on local and regional food systems, FPCs allow smaller systems to have their opinions heard regarding food-related issues that normally wouldn’t be addressed. The goal is to have a wide range of representation in the council so that all perspectives in the food system can be discussed. With enough food activists and support from the public, they can eventually help change food or agriculture policies for the future. While some states already have food policy councils, there are still many that don’t.

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