• 14 Jun 2018 6:00 PM | Deleted user

    The Florida Food Policy Council will host its second annual membership meeting at the Sanford Civic Center on Saturday, June 23, from 9am to 4pm. Council members will gather to share ideas in a midterm election year that decides Florida's next Commissioner of Agriculture. 

    At the annual meeting, members will discuss the upcoming Commissioner of Agriculture candidate forum presented by the Department of Religious Studies at the University of South Florida and the Florida Food Policy Council, to be held at the university on August 2nd. 

    "This forum represents a wonderful opportunity to hear from candidates across the political spectrum about their vision for how our food is grown, distributed, and sold," said Frank Wells, CEO of Venture House and FLFPC Vice Chair. "These actions impact every Floridian's access to good, safe, healthy food, and the environmental legacy we leave for future generations." 

    Wells organized the candidate forum with the help of FLFPC board member Dell DeChant, Associate Chair of Religious Studies at USF. 

    "Cooperation between the Department of Religious Studies at USF and the Florida Food Policy Council highlights the engagement of the council with academic communities," says deChant. "It's also an opportunity for the department to showcase its commitment to research on ethical and cultural horizons in food studies and sustainability." Admist the excitement of such a visible platform, council members will also discuss plans to identify and connect existing data projects that can provide a multi-layered picture of health, agricultural, and economic issues facing Florida's diverse food system.

    "The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Department of Health have made joint efforts to identify geographic areas challenged with food insecurity and preventable, diet-related diseases," says Anthony Olivieri, founder of FHEED, LLC, community food systems consultant, and FLFPC board member. "The council aims to identify policy opportunities in these areas."

    Another objective at the June meeting will be to explore opportunities for strategic partnerships among state agencies, large and small businesses, and human service organizations. The council is looking to expand its partner network and raise visibility leading up to 2020.

    "In any large, diverse system, there are many voices clamoring to be heard. Our mission is to promote integrity and collaboration within the food system for the benefit of all Floridians and the environment," said Rachel Shapiro, Executive Director of Heal the Planet Together, Inc. and FLFPC Chair. "The first step in fulfilling this service is to listen to the Floridians who are already doing great work and distinguish how we can best facilitate integrity and collaboration within the existing framework." 

    Since the first annual membership meeting in June 2017, the council has acquired start-up funding, developed a strategic plan, and filed for 501(c)3 status. In the coming year, members will develop a regional network that supports local activity while connectiong local efforts to braoder statewide objectives. Next steps include the production of policy papers, model ordinance tool kits, and a statewide speakers bureau. 

    The annual meeting is open to anyone interested in Florida's food system. Event registration includes one year of council membership. Membership is open to individuals, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies, with a discounted fee for students. 

  • 18 May 2018 3:36 PM | Deleted user

    Mary Meade

    Mary Meade is a content creator based in Tallahassee, FL, with a degree in International Affairs from Florida State University. As a communications specialist, she loves connecting individuals to ideas and developing community through diversity. She is most passionate about bridging the gaps between social and environmental justice through mission-driven businesses and organizations. Her favorite pastimes are hiking and camping in nature.

  • 18 May 2018 3:33 PM | Deleted user
  • 26 Apr 2018 3:30 PM | Deleted user

    Laureen Husband

    Laureen Husband, E.D., is the Director of Community Planning & Assessment at the Florida Department of Health in Duval County, and provides oversight over coalitions under Healthy Jacksonville within the department. She joined FDOH-Duval in June 2010 to oversee and facilitate local dialogue and engagement around chronic conditions and illnesses such as childhood obesity, food insecurity, asthma, diabetes, and worksite wellness through public/private partnerships.

    Before joining Healthy Jacksonville, Husband was the Senior Program Manager for Polk County Health Department’s HIV/AIDS Program. Prior to that, Husband developed, implemented and managed programs addressing the wellbeing and welfare of children and women in the nonprofit sector. She has extensive experience working with community groups to address socio-economic security as well as health disparities. Husband’s areas of expertise include community development, food policy, grant writing, education, cultural competency, fiscal management, and resource development after natural disasters.

    Husband has published a dissertation on the lived experiences of women on poverty. She was educated at the University of West Florida, University of Kentucky, and Berea College. She grew up in a small village in Kenya, East Africa.

  • 26 Apr 2018 3:24 PM | Deleted user

    Anthony Olivieri, MURP

    Founder, FHEED LLC

    Anthony Olivieri is the founder of FHEED LLC, a food systems planning consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He has a Masters in Urban & Regional Planning from Florida Atlantic University (2011).

    Passionate about food justice, Anthony specializes in conducting GIS-assisted food system assessments and workshops using diabetes disparities and food environment data. Anthony’s clients include the Broward Regional Health Planning Council, the Health Foundation of South Florida, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the United Way of Palm Beach County. Anthony has presented his work on food and health disparities to the Florida American Planning Association, American Public Health Association, and the Florida Redevelopment Association.

    In addition to his consultancy, Anthony was a full-time instructor with the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida Atlantic University, where he developed and taught the region’s first urban planning course on community food systems (2014-2015). A Fort Lauderdale resident since 1998, Anthony is originally from Cambridge, Massachusetts and has a B.A. in psycholinguistics from the University of Southern California (1994).


  • 24 Jan 2018 3:12 PM | Deleted user

    Release No. 0008.18

    Contact: USDA Press


    Perdue Announces USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018

    (Mifflintown, PA, January 24, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018 during a town hall at Reinford Farms in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania.

    “Since my first day as the Secretary of Agriculture, I’ve traveled to 30 states, listening to the people of American agriculture about what is working and what is not. The conversations we had and the people we came across helped us craft USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018,” said Secretary Perdue. “These principles will be used as a road map – they are our way of letting Congress know what we’ve heard from the hard-working men and women of American agriculture. While we understand it’s the legislature’s job to write the Farm Bill, USDA will be right there providing whatever counsel Congress may request or require.”

    (Secretary Perdue holds a town hall meeting at Reinford Farms where he rolled out USDA’s 2018 Farm Bill and Legislative Principles)

    Download USDA’s 2018 Farm Bill and Legislative Principles

    USDA’s 2018 Farm Bill and Legislative Principles:


    Provide a farm safety net that helps American farmers weather times of economic stress without distorting markets or increasing shallow loss payments.

    Promote a variety of innovative crop insurance products and changes, enabling farmers to make sound production decisions and to manage operational risk.

    Encourage entry into farming through increased access to land and capital for young, beginning, veteran and underrepresented farmers.

    Ensure that voluntary conservation programs balance farm productivity with conservation benefits so the most fertile and productive lands remain in production while land retired for conservation purposes favors more environmentally sensitive acres.

    Support conservation programs that ensure cost-effective financial assistance for improved soil health, water and air quality and other natural resource benefits.


    Improve U.S. market competitiveness by expanding investments, strengthening accountability of export promotion programs, and incentivizing stronger financial partnerships.

    Ensure the Farm Bill is consistent with U.S. international trade laws and obligations.

    Open foreign markets by increasing USDA expertise in scientific and technical areas to more effectively monitor foreign practices that impede U.S. agricultural exports and engage with foreign partners to address them.


    Harness America’s agricultural abundance to support nutrition assistance for those truly in need.

    Support work as the pathway to self-sufficiency, well-being, and economic mobility for individuals and families receiving supplemental nutrition assistance.

    Strengthen the integrity and efficiency of food and nutrition programs to better serve our participants and protect American taxpayers by reducing waste, fraud and abuse through shared data, innovation, and technology modernization.

    Encourage state and local innovations in training, case management, and program design that promote self-sufficiency and achieve long-term, stability in employment.

    Assure the scientific integrity of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans process through greater transparency and reliance on the most robust body of scientific evidence.

    Support nutrition policies and programs that are science based and data driven with clear and measurable outcomes for policies and programs.


    Enhance our partnerships and the scientific tools necessary to prevent, mitigate, and where appropriate, eradicate harmful plant and animal pests and diseases impacting agriculture.

    Safeguard our domestic food supply and protect animal health through modernization of the tools necessary to bolster biosecurity, prevention, surveillance, emergency response, and border security.

    Protect the integrity of the USDA organic certified seal and deliver efficient, effective oversight of organic production practices to ensure organic products meet consistent standards for all producers, domestic and foreign.

    Ensure USDA is positioned appropriately to review production technologies if scientifically required to ensure safety, while reducing regulatory burdens.

    Foster market and growth opportunities for specialty crop growers while reducing regulatory burdens that limit their ability to be successful.


    Protect public health and prevent foodborne illness by committing the necessary resources to ensure the highest standards of inspection, with the most modern tools and scientific methods available.

    Support and enhance FSIS programs to ensure efficient regulation and the safety of meat, poultry and processed egg products, including improved coordination and clarity on execution of food safety responsibilities.

    Continue to focus USDA resources on products and processes that pose the greatest public health risk.


    Commit to a public research agenda that places the United States at the forefront of food and agriculture scientific development.

    Develop an impact evaluation approach, including the use of industry panels, to align research priorities to invest in high priority innovation, technology, and education networks.

    Empower public-private partnerships to leverage federal dollars, increase capacity, and investments in infrastructure for modern food and agricultural science.

    Prioritize investments in education, training and the development of human capital to ensure a workforce capable of meeting the growing demands of food and agriculture science.

    Develop and apply integrated advancement in technology needed to feed a growing and hungry world.


    Create consistency and flexibility in programs that will foster collaboration and assist communities in creating a quality of life that attracts and retains the next generation.

    Expand and enhance the effectiveness of tools available to further connect rural American communities, homes, farms, businesses, first responders, educational facilities, and healthcare facilities to reliable and affordable high-speed internet services.

    Partner with states and local communities to invest in infrastructure to support rural prosperity, innovation and entrepreneurial activity.

    Provide the resources and tools that foster greater integration among programs, partners and the rural development customer.


    Make America’s forests work again through proactive cost-effective management based on data and sound science.

    Expand Good Neighbor Authority and increase coordination with states to promote job creation and improve forest health through shared stewardship and stakeholder input.

    Reduce litigative risk and regulatory impediments to timely environmental review, sound harvesting, fire management and habitat protection to improve forest health while providing jobs and prosperity to rural communities.

    Offer the tools and resources that incentivize private stewardship and retention of forest land.


    Provide a fiscally responsible Farm Bill that reflects the Administration’s budget goals.

    Enhance customer service and compliance by reducing regulatory burdens on USDA customers.

    Modernize internal and external IT solutions to support the delivery of efficient, effective service to USDA customers.

    Provide USDA full authority to responsibly manage properties and facilities under its jurisdiction.

    Increase the effectiveness of tools and resources necessary to attract and retain a strong USDA workforce that reflects the citizens we serve.

    Recognize the unique labor needs of agriculture and leverage USDA’s expertise to allow the Department to play an integral role in developing workforce policy to ensure farmers have access to a legal and stable workforce.

    Grow and intensify program availability to increase opportunities for new, beginning, veteran, and underrepresented producers.

  • 14 Jan 2018 3:04 PM | Deleted user

    Dear Food Policy Council Enthusiasts,

    Jodee Ellett, Local Foods Program Director with Purdue University, and I are launching a new, online professional development course to help Extension and community development colleagues build local food councils. Over 20 experts have contributed to the development of this course, including experts from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. We are so grateful for these contributions and the support of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development to create this self-paced learning tool.

    Supporting Local Food Councils” is a free online resource that is open to all. There are 15 modules in the course, which take about 1-2 hours per module to complete. Each module contains videos, readings and online tools. There is a certificate of completion awarded for participants that complete all modules and quizzes. Earning a certificate is optional. There is no deadline for completion and the videos/course materials can be accessed at any time – including during your food council meetings. The course was designed for professionals with less than three years of experience working with food councils at the local level.

    To learn more, we invite you to join a webinar about the course next Monday, January 15. (Yes, Martin Luther King Jr. Day – it is not a holiday for us and we think Dr. King would support the community building concepts behind this course.) There is no pre-registration required for the free-webinar. If you aren’t able to make the webinar, it will be recorded. Or you can sign up for the course and take a look by visiting the course web page at

    Please feel free to forward this information to your colleagues and/or food council members. Thank you for your time!

    WEBINAR: Supporting Local Food Councils: A New Professional Development Course

    SPEAKERS: Jodee Ellett, Purdue University and Kendra Wills, Michigan State University

    January 15, 2018 – 12:00 PM Eastern Time

    About the webinar: Extension professionals and other community development specialists are often asked to engage in local food systems work. Fulfilling this request can be a challenge, especially for staff who are unfamiliar with local food systems programming and/or do not regularly facilitate community groups. Supporting Local Food Councils is a new professional development course designed to equip Extension staff and community development professionals with the education, material resources, organizational tools and videos to support the development and sustainability of food councils. Participants in this webinar will be given an overview of the course’s 15 modules and will have a chance to view a few of the course videos. Twenty local food council experts from around the U.S. provided content for this self-paced online course. Supporting Local Food Councils is available to all at no charge. Course participants that complete the quiz for each module will earn a certificate of completion.

    Presented by:

    Jodee Ellett is the Local Foods Coordinator for Purdue Extension, working across program areas to build food system networks and deliver research and education. Jodee works at the individual, community, business and leadership level to engage and synergize local food system development.

    Kendra Wills has served with MSU Extension for the past 17 years. She is based at the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan and serves five counties in west Michigan. Kendra began working on local food systems issues in 2010 (focusing on farm-to-school and youth gardening programs) and in 2015 began developing a local food council in Lake County, Michigan.

    Registration: There is no registration and no fee for attending this webinar.

    To join the webinar go to, “enter as a guest” is by default already chosen. Type your name into the text box provided, and click on “Enter Room”. You are now in the meeting room for the webinar. NOTE: CHROME is not compatible with Adobe Connect, use either Firefox or IE.

    The webinar will be recorded and archived at

    I hope you can join us on Monday!


    Kendra Wills

    Educator, Community Food Systems

    Michigan State University Extension

    Grand Rapids Downtown Market

    109 Logan Street SW, Suite B102

    Grand Rapids, MI 49503

    616-608-7424 (office)

    517-930-0928 (mobile)

    MSU Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status.

  • 17 Jul 2017 5:22 PM | Deleted user

    Upcoming Meetings 

    Annual Membership Meeting

    Date: June 23rd, 2018

    Location: The Sanford Civic Center, 401 E Seminole Blvd, Sanford, FL 32771

    Time: 9:00AM - 5:00PM

    Join food enthusiasts, academics, entrepreneurs, and public servants for our annual, statewide membership meeting of the Florida Food Policy Council being held in Sanford, FL on Saturday, June 23rd. Food Policy expert Mark Winne, author of Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty, will be giving the keynote. 

    If you work with food, care about food being available and nutrient dense, or eat food then this is an event for you! This is your opportunity to add your voice to a conversation that concerns every single human being that lives in the state of Florida. Our goal is to bring a diverse group of stakeholders to the table to discuss how to best support a healthy and functional food system for the state. 

    Previous Meetings

    Annual Membership Meeting

    June 24th, 2017

    The Betty D. White Cultural Center, Sanford, FL 32771

    9:00AM - 5:00PM

    NW Region

    March 19th, 2017

    Berry Good Farms, Jacksonville, FL

    1:00PM - 5:00PM

    SE Region

    Nov 19th, 2016

    Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Davie, FL

    1:00PM - 5:00PM

    SW Region

    Apr 3rd, 2016

    Fort Myers, FL

    9:30AM - 3:00PM

    Central Region

    Sept 11th, 2016

    East End Market, Orlando

    12:00PM - 5:00PM

    NE Region

    July 16th, 2016

    Tallahassee, FL

    9:30AM - 3PM

    Satellite Broadcast Locations

    UF/IFAS Collier County Extension Office

    14700 Immokalee Drive

    Naples, FL 34120

    UF/IFAS Martin County Extension Office

    2614 SE Dixie, Hwy.

    Stuart, FL 34996

    UF/IFAS Seminole County Extension Office

    250 W. County Home Rd

    Sanford, FL 32773

    UF/IFAS Escambia County Extension Office

    3740 Stefani Rd

    Cantonment, FL 32533

  • 5 Jul 2017 2:44 PM | Deleted user

    I spent the past four days falling in love with Florida. A lifelong resident of this festival of flowers, I took an Old Florida trip and saw it new again.

    We stayed away from the interstates, gazing on green hills laden with live oaks and pecan groves, rolling through small towns forgotten by time. Tractors tilling unending rows, clothes blowing on the line. I was surprised to see produce distribution warehouses just feet from the fields, the ground-level infrastructure that makes Florida a top agricultural source for the nation.

    On to the water. Crystal blue, gushing up through ancient limestone, a crisp relief in summer heat. We laughed and splashed like mermaids, where other tourists have for 75 years, and native people, black bear, blue heron, and bald eagle have for millennia.

    And where the fresh water meets the salt, I saw baby islands, born of mangrove. A thousand boats stretched across the horizon, the floating and transient city of scallopers. A family of manatee, 1000-pound creatures, a pod of bottlenose dolphin, a green sea turtle.

    As we slid through the marsh, I slipped back in time, to Seminole fishermen shucking oysters on the shore, storing the meat in their pouches for trading in town. I listened to a man raised in these waters describe the help given white settlers, where to catch fish, how to navigate the low islands, the best trade routes. As he spoke, the discarded shells’ patina reflected a story now hundreds of years old.

    Though the beauty was bright, all was not well. I saw plastic bags caught in the mangrove roots, plastic bottles floating in the bay. The inland fields were dotted with people living on much less than those buying the new homes built where crops once grew. Amidst the verdant summer bounty and local skill, large retailers based in the state carry tomatoes from Canada, and specialty shops shelve preserves “homemade” in North Carolina. There is work to do.

    From the Biscuit Barn in a strip mall, to zucchini boats in a downtown high-rise, the food amazing and the characters colorful, all rich with flavor and stranger than fiction. It’s no wonder the state serves as the setting for countless pop culture icons, classic literature, movies, and TV shows.

    On the Saturday prior to my travels, and not far from the Florida I was courting, in a quiet town that years ago chose to be bypassed by I-4, thirty-five people sat down to the difficult and unglamorous work of building a statewide council. A group that can guide policy decisions to craft the food system we all want: equitable, affordable, profitable, sustainable.

    No small task. But we’ve begun it.

    The Florida Food Policy Council members who gathered in Sanford on June 24th represented most regions of the state (only the western-most section was missing). They tackled mission, mantra, and vision, identifying foundational values as well as the value the council should provide.

    Policy committee chairs presented findings from the 18-month membership tour, showing what issues the regions found most pressing, and offering clues to where the work should start. (Find that presentation here: FLFPC Policy and Issues.) Information exchange and connectivity emerged as the top trend.

    Members were nominated to the Board of Directors, and the Board elected leadership. Others volunteered as Regional Liaisons, to ensure representation and local participation in Council activities. The Board of Directors will meet monthly, the first of which takes place July 11th by phone. The roles of regional liaisons will be described, so more can be recruited, and a timeline for strategic planning set.

    As an all-volunteer organization, there is plenty of room to participate as the formation of the Council formalizes. Members at the Sanford meeting identified six regions, and the northern three are still in need of representation. The Board may soon expand the committees beyond the original set – Organization & Development, Policy, and Communications – with many leadership and participation roles to be filled.

    Again, there is much work to do. But I can say with certainty that we are here out of love. For our neighbors and our families. For this magnificently diverse place we call home: its wild places, its giving ground, its mysterious waters. For its present state and its necessary future.

    I am glad for the action, heartened by the interest, and looking forward to a progress we define, together.

    Michelle Gomez

    Secretary, FLFPC

    Michelle also serves as the Director of Frenchtown Heritage Hub, Tallahassee’s only food business incubator, which supports the development of women- and minority-owned enterprise, affordable access to healthy food, and sector connectivity within the local food system. The Hub is an economic development program of the Frenchtown Neighborhood Improvement Association, a 501(c)3 corporation.

  • 31 May 2017 2:19 PM | Deleted user
    Group Launches Council to Influence State-Level Policy Decisions

    SANFORD, FL – The Florida Food Policy Council will meet on Saturday, June 24th, at the Bettye D. Smith Cultural Center in Sanford, Florida, to officially launch the grassroots effort that members hope will influence policy decisions at the state level.

    Organizers began the effort in the fall of 2015, following the Florida Local Food Summit in Orlando. For the next 18 months, the group held meetings around the state to gather membership and information to better understand the policy issues common across the regions of Florida.

    With that work done, the findings of the statewide tour will be unveiled at the June meeting. Members in attendance will elect a council board, and decide the priorities that the council will tackle on behalf of Floridians in the 2018 legislative session. This is the first in what will become annual membership meetings in the new iteration of the Florida Food Policy Council.

    Food is big business in Florida. Following the drought in California, the Sunshine State has moved into the top spot for tomato production in the United States. Florida also ranks 10th in beef production, and grows 59% of the country’s orange harvest. However, hyperlocal produce and craft breweries are making a splash in consumer minds across the state as well. Community organizations are turning out local food solutions to combat hunger in underserved areas, and healthier food options in schools are seen by many as a valuable tool for improved performance.

    Those involved stress that the council is for everyone, and that fair and inclusive food policy is the goal. Farmers, retailers, educators, entrepreneurs, and public servants will mingle Friday evening at Wop’s Hops, getting to know each other before convening Saturday to decide the direction of food in Florida. Mark Winne, author of Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty, will serve as keynote speaker and facilitator for the event. Slow Food Orlando is a sponsor.

    Attendees will also sample the local fare of Sanford, lunching at restaurants in the city’s historic downtown district. Attendance is free for current members, though registration is required. For those interested in becoming council members and attending the event, the cost of the meeting ticket also serves as annual membership dues, which range from $10 for students to $60 for organizations.

    Event Registration:

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