October was a whirlwind for the Florida Food Policy Council. We visited cities all over the state to connect with our members and become familiar with new leaders working in various sectors related to food.
On October 17th, FLFPC Chair Rachel Shapiro represented us as a judge at the GuideWell Block by Block Insecurity Challenge in Orlando. There she met with leaders around the state who are working tirelessly to develop innovative approaches to solving food security. Some of the greatest benefits that came out of the event were the conversations, collaborations, and the realization that working together as a group would enable organizations to make a greater impact in communities by multiplying what they were already doing individually.
The Tampa Bay Urban Food Sovereignty Summit at the University of South Florida was our next stop on October 22nd. FLFPC Policy Committee Chair and USF Department of Religious Studies Associate Chair Dell deChant hosted the event. His enthusiasm captured the interest and attention of over 150 attendees. Also speaking at the event was FLFPC Development Committee Chair and Urban and Regional Planning specialist Anthony Olivieri, who presented on “Food Sovereignty via Land Use Policy Activation.” His inspiring speech brought a new perspective on the issue of food sovereignty through the lens of policy for many of the attendees. FLFPC Administrative Assistant Kyndra Love was also in attendance, sharing information and connecting with food advocates at the FLFPC table. Overall, the event was a huge success in providing awareness of food issues and bringing together community members to further the conversation on this important topic.
In Miami, on October 23rd, the FLFPC attended the Sustainability and Digitalization Leaders Conference. This event brought together innovators and leaders from around the world working with technology to improve the food system. Attending the event, Chair Rachel Shapiro and South Florida Regional Liaison Tom Pellizzetti learned about new ways technology can be used to reshape the food system and discussed how related policies and legislation can better support access to a sustainable, equitable future.
Over three days, from October 24 to 26th, we moved to North Florida for our Regional Gatherings. Held in three cities: Panama Beach City, Tallahassee, and Saint Augustine, Chair Rachel Shapiro and Board Member Christopher Johns led the gatherings which included discussions on understanding, researching, evaluating, and advocating for public food policy. The events enabled us to better understand the issues and concerns of our members, and inspired us to create new goals in educating and informing Floridians going forward.
As we met with the many passionate people involved in improving the food system around the state, we were left with a stronger sense of purpose. As we move into the new year, we are excited to continue connecting stakeholders and facilitating dialog, and especially educating Floridians on how to become food citizens.