What is a Food Policy Council?
A Food Policy Council (FPC) consists of a group of representatives and community residents who represent all sectors of the food system and collaborate on mutually beneficial solutions to food system problems. These problems have typically been addressed in a piecemeal fashion, with each of the food sectors working independently.
FPCs are part of a broader community-based food systems approach. They comprehensively evaluate existing conditions of their community’s food system, address gaps, and support promising programs and practices in order to help the various sectors reinforce one another. Ultimately, they bridge the fragments in the food community by acting as a cohesive glue, disseminating information and advice about policies and programs that will effectively create impact from the inside out. This creates partnerships that over time build and further ensure the leadership and collaboration necessary to advocate for a lively, healthy, and people- focused food system.
The Importance of Food Policy Councils In Our Community
Changes within the food system over the past several years, as it has become more fragmented and disconnected, have had dramatic impacts on public health and community sustainability outcomes. The food system is defined as the interdependent process and people that provide food to a community/region including growing, harvesting, processing, marketing, distributing and consuming food, this includes soil, water, and safety.
The challenge of the food movement is to bring all aspects of food production and distribution together into a coherent whole which assures nutritional accessible, safe, and available food for all.
Functions of Food Policy Councils:
1. To serve as forums for discussing and advancing food issues.
2. To advance scientific investigation and research which can support behavioral and nutritional change leading to new knowledge and improved health for people.
3. To foster coordination between sectors in the food system.
4. To evaluate, advance, prepare and/or influence policy.
5. To launch or support programs and services that address needs, advance knowledge and promote integration of the food system leading to positive results.
6. To promote the healthy food, health, and well-being movement which honors and influences every part of the food system.