As the statewide Virginia Food System Council (VFSC) we would like to offer our support to all regional, county, or city food councils here in Virginia to bridge gaps within Virginia’s current food system per our mission to advance a nutrient-rich and safe food system for Virginians at all income levels, with an emphasis on access to local food, creating linkages between food producers and consumers, and a healthy, viable future for Virginia’s farmers and farmland.
We intend to function as a central resource and a communication conduit among area councils, facilitating discussion around important issues. Funding permitting, we may facilitate annual or biennial food council meetings, attend/present at food council meetings, or set up and administer an online forum for food system working groups across the state. Our view is that maintaining cross-state information sharing and networking communication is a powerful tool when educating consumers and legislators and when applying for competitive grants.
Please educate yourself with some of the resources we have identified as useful for developing food councils or initiatives in city, county and regional communities.
Resources for food councils, working groups and local government
Harvesting Healthier Options: State Legislative Trends in Local Food 2012-2014
This report by the National Conference of State Legislatures identifies state legislation across the country aimed at strengthening local food systems. Policy areas include farm to school, farmers markets, urban agriculture, and food policy councils.
Food Policy Councils: Recipes for a Successful Start at the Local, County and State Levels
On October 31, 2013 the Institute for Public Health Innovation hosted a webinar about various ways food councils launch and function at three levels of government jurisdiction: local, county, and state.
The webinar featured speakers from:
– City of Staunton, VA Food Policy Task Force
– Prince George’s County, MD Food Equity Council
– Virginia Food System Council
Link to the recorded webinar: Food Policy Councils: Recipes for a Successful Start at the Local, County, and State Levels
Questions? Email or phone at mjones[at]institutephi.org or (202) 407-7088 x1026.
The partnership of UNC School of Government and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) hosted a webinar on September 11, 2013 about the benefits of including local food initiatives into local government strategic planning.
Walk into a grocery store or a restaurant and you’re likely to see the word “local” displayed on shelves and menus. Consumers are more interested than ever in knowing the origins of their food, healthy eating and providing support for the local economy.
Local governments can take advantage of these trends by playing a significant role in facilitating this growing segment of the economy, and at the same time influencing positive community health outcomes and realizing authentic community engagement.
Link here to Local Food and Local Government: What You Need to Know webinar where working groups can:
- Explore food as a thread weaving through and connecting much of what we do in leading, governing, engaging, and supporting our communities.
- Identify elements of our complex food system and the forces that influence it.
- Hear experts examine health and economic issues important to local government through the lens of food, something that touches us all.
Additional Program Course Materials related to this webinar can be found at: http://www.sog.unc.edu/node/3676
2012 Food Policy and Program Survey for Local Governments
The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and Michigan State University (MSU)’s Center
for Regional Food Systems conducted this survey to collect data on what local governments are doing in
relation to food system development.
Link to Survey Results: SURVEY – ICMA MSU 2012 Food Policy and Programs Survey Summary Results