The Washtenaw County Food Policy Council increases and preserves access to safe, local and healthy food for all residents of Washtenaw County.
To have a healthy community and thriving local food system that:
- Provides access to healthy and culturally appropriate food for all residents
- Values and preserves community land for food production
- Maximizes the use of local, regional and seasonal food
- Meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations
- Promotes economic development and a local economy within and around the food system
The idea for a Washtenaw County Food Policy Council originally came out of discussion during meetings of the Food System Economic Partnership’s Policy Committee meetings. After seeing the rise of Food Policy Councils around the country, committee members saw a growing need for the same sort of unifying structure in Washtenaw County. What was originally an idea gained further traction after Washtenaw County Public Health was able to secure grant funding for the development of a food policy council. With this support the Policy Committee was able to move this idea further, hiring a part-time council coordinator and applying for recognition by Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners in the winter of 2012.
The Washtenaw County Food Policy Council supports a viable, economical and sustainable local food system through multiple strategies including:
- Strengthening the connections between food, health, natural resource protection, economic development and the agricultural community
- Researching, analyzing and reporting on information about the local food system
- Advocating for and advising on food system and food policy implementation
- Promoting and providing education on food system issues
In July 2014, the Washtenaw County Food Policy Council approved a policy agenda, outlining and summarizing our goals to support healthy, fair, affordable and sustainable food in Washtenaw County. Policy agenda items span issues such as increasing food access in the county, preserving land for agriculture use and ensuring fair wages for food and farm workers.
The policy agenda organizes the work of the Washtenaw County Food Policy Council by spheres of influence–from schools and institutions, to municipalities, to county government, to state and federal government–change at all of these levels is critical to ensure a more sustainable and economically viable food system.
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