Recruiting Food Policy Council Members

An overall guide to finding the right members for a food policy council and recruiting your team, including sample bylaws and application forms.

The main goal of a food policy council is to have a broad representation of issues and interests of stakeholders across the food system. Ideally, a food policy council should include members that represent every step of the food chain, such as production, distribution, consumption and waste management sectors; in doing so, the council sees the big picture of the food system, and gains a full perspective of the challenges within it. By having discussions that incorporate the needs and wants of all segments of the food chain, councils are able to create solutions that benefit everyone. 

Many FPCs include state or local government officials and academics, typically hailing from departments of agriculture, economic development, inspections, education, human services, public, health, cultural affairs, and/or transportation. These members’ knowledge of law and policy in specific areas help the council form realistic and attainable goals.

It is beneficial to have a council be culturally and generationally diverse in order to have a complete understanding and accurate representation of the area the council is serving.

A successful food policy council generally includes an array of people from different backgrounds and professions. When looking for members, consider populations such as farmers, community gardeners, urban agriculturists, food distributors and wholesalers, food bank managers, labor representatives, grocery retailers, farmers market managers, restaurant owners, members of the faith community, academics involved in food policy and law, and government officials. For further suggestions on who to include, check out Oakland Food Policy Council’s guiding document on the member selection process.



It is beneficial to incorporate a “membership” section explicitly in the bylaws or organizing documents of a food policy council. This section can provide details about what specific kind of members the council is looking for and the responsibilities they are expected to uphold.

For specific examples of detailed membership sections, refer to the bylaws provided by Detroit’s Food Policy Council and the Grant County Food Policy Council (pg. 5).


Recruiting Members

When beginning the recruiting process for food policy council members, a clear application form is useful. Below are examples of application forms some councils have used:

Oakland, CA Food Policy Council Membership Application

Mahoning Valley, OH Food Policy Council Application Form

Washoe County, NV Food Policy Council Application Form



Updated 9/2014