Food Policy Councils - Lessons Learned

Food Policy Councils: Lessons learned

Alethea Harper, Alison Alkon, Annie Shattuck, Eric Holt-Giménez and Frances Lambrick | 12.01.2009

2009, Development Report No. 21 - Food First

Executive Summary

As the food and financial crises bring fresh urgency to concerns over hunger, food access, public health, labor and economic development—citizens and governments are beginning to connect these issues back to the food system as a whole. Councils are springing up across North America to “connect the dots” between the growing number of neighborhood food initiatives and communities forging policies for just, healthy food systems.

Food Policy Councils act as both forums for food issues and platforms for coordinated action. The first Food Policy Council started in 1982 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Since then Food Policy Councils have been established at state, local and regional levels across the county. Some have remarkable success stories. Others have failed, disbanded, or spun-off into other service and non-profit organizations.

What lessons can be taken from North America’s three-decade experiment in formulating local food policy? Food Policy Councils: Lessons Learned is an assessment based on an extensive literature review and testimony from 48 individual interviews with the people most involved in Food Policy Councils.