Funding a Food Policy Council: How to Get Started

Suggestions and examples on how to fund a food policy council.

The financial resources to create and operate a food policy council can be challenging to find. State funding is rare, and council funding may instead come from outside grants. Local and regional USDA grants can be a good place to start. Councils also may be administered by cooperating non-profits involved in food security and small farm issues. 

Below are two specific examples of how food policy councils can be funded:

    Oakland’s food policy council began in 2006 when the City of Oakland provided $50,000 in startup funding through Williams Energy Settlement funds.     

    The OFPC was initially incubated at Food First, which still serves as its nonprofit fiscal agent, and provides multiple resources – including interns and connections to other local businesses. 

    Another major source of OFPC funding and networking comes from a partnership with HOPE Collaborative, a Kellogg-funded Food and Fitness Initiative made up of individuals, agencies and organizations working to improve food access and places for physical activity in Oakland.

    Overall, the work of the OFPC is made possible by funding, in-kind donations, and affiliation with the city of Oakland, Food First, HOPE Collaborative and various non profits in the Oakland area.


    The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County in Oriskany, NY, was awarded a $100,000 grant via the USDA’s Hunger Free Communities program to start the Utica/Oneida Food Policy Council. The Hunger Free Communities program is one of a series of new agendas aimed at helping communities  increase food access by promoting organization and relationships between public, private and non-profit partners.  To date, the USDA has supplied roughly $5 million in grants to 14 communities in order to end hunger and improve food access in low-income areas.

    The Utica/Oneida County Food Policy Council is comprised of a combination of city and county governments working with more than 24 organizations including nonprofits, educational institutions, community coalitions, private sector businesspeople, farmers and local citizens.  Their involvement with this broad scope of businesses provides great networking and funding opportunities. 

For further research on grant opportunities and funding solutions, see the following links:

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Drake University Ag Law Center

Creating Local Food Policy Councils: A Guide for Michigan’s Communities




Updated 12/2014