Doing Food Policy Councils Right: A Guide to Development and Action

A truly invaluable resource for anyone involved in food policy council work from formation to ongoing planning. Developed by Mark Winne, this manual includes everything on getting started, choosing members, budgeting, and winning policy victories.

Download: Doing Food Policy Councils Right: A Guide to Development and Action

Today’s food policy councils come in different sizes and sometimes address different issues. But at heart they reflect the idea of food democracy—a term coined by Professor Tim Lang during the 1990s.

To him, food democracy means “the long process of striving for improvements in food for all not the few.” Achieving that goal means bringing the bulk of society to work together to ensure there’s enough affordable, easily accessible, and nutritious food for everyone. That concept is sometimes called food security, and Lang also linked it to economic and social justice for the people who raise, process, distribute, and sell our food.

It might seem like a daunting task, challenging the interests that support the food system status quo. And promoting concepts such as food democracy and social justice might feel like a hard sell in your community. But at its core, the work of a food policy council addresses something basic, something we can all relate to—our need for food that nourishes us.

Your local council doesn’t have to take on the most controversial food issues—and probably shouldn’t. But it can work to make sure farmers’ markets thrive in your community, or that your state addresses the notion of farmland preservation. This manual outlines some of the tools you can use to create and sustain your own effective food policy council and to take steps toward that goal of food security for all.

Throughout this manual, you’ll see that different communities give their food policy councils different names. Some reflect the combining of different geographic regions, as in the Knoxville-Knox County council mentioned earlier. Some groups add agriculture, nutrition, or fitness to their policy scope. Others aren’t called policy councils at all; they’re advisory councils or task forces or alliances. But whatever their name, these groups carry out the essential work of a food policy council: to use the political process to shape the local food system.


Table of Contents

1 | Introduction

4 | Chapter One – Some Why’s and What’s of Food Policy Councils

10 | Chapter Two – The Basics of Food Policy Action

16 | Chapter Three – Developing an FPC

29 | Chapter Four – Putting the “Policy” in an FPC

34 | Chapter Five – Operating a Food Policy Council

43 | Chapter Six – Evaluating Partnership, Goals, and Accomplishments

49 | Chapter Seven – Lessons Learned

51 | Food Policy Council Resources

57 | References

59 | Acknowledgements


Download the guide