Where We Are Now and How We Got Here
The Florida Food Policy Council is a burgeoning grassroots organization that is working toward fair and healthy food for all Floridians. The idea to form a statewide policy Council came to fruition in September 2015. A group of volunteers gathered at the Florida Local Food Summit and formed a Steering Committee to help guide the process of creating this organization. The members of the Steering Committee represented various sectors of the state including academia, agriculture, health, hospitality, non-profit, and the public. The goal of the Steering Committee was to garner membership and support around the state before holding Board elections and creating a Strategic Plan.
After seven months of consistent effort the Steering Committee hosted the inaugural general meeting of the membership on Sunday, April 3rd, 2016 in Fort Myers, in concert with the UF/IFAS Regional Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference. In the subsequent twelve months the Council has held regional meetings in the NE, Central, NW, and NE regions, garnering over 100 members ranging from chefs, to food producers, to nonprofit representatives, to government employees. The Council has received support amongst such agencies as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, Florida Blue, UF/IFAS, Feeding Florida, Florida Organic Growers, and others.
During the April 3rd meeting, the members agreed on a Committee structure to include an Organizational Committee, a Policy Committee, a Communications Committee, and an Executive Committee. Additional achievements included development of policy agenda recommendations from the membership, which proved to be an ongoing theme at each future membership meeting. The recommendations from each session are given to the Policy Committee for compilation and review. The Council is currently evaluating the data from the regional meetings and using the feedback to form the strategic plan being drafted after the election of a Board of Directors in June 2017.
Where We Are Going
Currently, the Council is preparing for the first annual meeting being held in Sanford, FL on Saturday, June 24th. Food Policy expert Mark Winne, author of Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty, will return as the keynote speaker and facilitator for the meeting. The agenda will include board elections, voting on mission and vision statements, as well as voting on the basic policy issues on which to focus for the coming year.