food policy

State Food Policy Summit

Amy Bodiker and Morgan Taggart discuss fundraising options for food policy councils

Amy Bodiker and Morgan Taggart discuss fundraising options for food policy councils

On Tuesday, May 27, more than 150 people gathered in Columbus for the 2014 State Food Policy Summit, the single annual event for food policy interests to join across the state of Ohio. The event was organized by Dr. Jill Clark, Assistant Professor in the John Glenn School of Public Affairs and Caitlin Marquis, project manager of the Fresh Foods Here healthy corner store initiative, both members of the Franklin County Local Food Council (FCLFC). The Summit was hosted by the John Glenn School of Public Affairs, and took place in the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4H Center at the Ohio State University.

The afternoon Summit was preceded by a Local Food Council Morning Session, which was attended by members of Local Food Councils throughout the state of Ohio.

Attendees to the morning session heard about fundraising options for food policy councils from Amy Bodiker, chair of the FCLFC and a nonprofit consultant (Amy Bodiker Consulting), and Morgan Taggart, Chair of the Cleveland Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition and extension educator in community development for OSU Extension. The talk was followed by a group activity designed for participants to learn from each other’s experiences with local food councils and a networking lunch.

Afternoon atendees

Afternoon atendees

The afternoon session was kicked off by a lecture from Joe Shultz, the Chief Economist for the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry about the 2014 Farm Bill and its implications for food policy. Shultz outlined reforms and new opportunities in the new Farm Bill, which serves as the federal government’s overarching blueprint for food, farm, and conservation policy.

The audience also heard from Ashley Davis, Creating Healthy Communities Program Consultant for the Ohio Department of Health, about Ohio’s plan to prevent and reduce chronic disease; John Weidman, the Deputy Executive Director of the Food Trust, about their approach to improve access to healthy food; Tony Logan, the State Director of the USDA Ohio Rural Development Agency, about available USDA resources for regional food hubs; and Lori Yelton, Registered Dietitian and member of the Michigan Food Policy Council, about their experience establishing state food policy council in Michigan.

Finally, Franklin County Commissioner Paula Brooks gave a brief talk regarding her involvement with the Presidential Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

The morning session provided a valuable opportunity for local food councils to cross-pollinate by sharing an impressive range of food-based initiatives taking place in communities throughout Ohio. The afternoon Summit provided crucial insight into the broad scope of food policy work taking place in and around the state. To view the speakers’ presentations, visit the John Glenn School of Public Affairs Food Policy website.

Listening Session Summary

Policy Working Group March 18 Listening Session Summary

The Policy Working Group of the Franklin County Local Food Council (FCLFC) held a Listening Session on March 18, 2014 at the North Market. A panel consisting of representatives from the United Way of Central Ohio, Mid-Ohio Foodbank and the Ohio Farmers’ Market Management Network participated in a moderated discussion about their efforts to expand local and healthy food access in Central Ohio. Community participants included representatives from anti-hunger organizations, farmers’ markets, higher education institutions, foundations, and community organizations.

The goal of the Listening Session was to inform the FCLFC about SNAP benefit matching programs at farmers’ markets and fruit and vegetable prescription programs and to gauge participants’ interest in these programs in order to determine if this is a topic in which the FCLFC should engage.

To attend the next Listening Session, see the events calendar.

Commissioners Adopt Local Food Policy

New Resolution Ushers in National Food Day, a Celebration of Healthy, Affordable and Sustainable

October 23, 2013 – The Franklin County Local Food Council (FCLFC) announce today that the County Commissioners passed Resolution No. 809-13 in support of the community’s local food system. This resolution will further strengthen and solidify the County’s commitment to supporting the local food system citing important economic and environmental benefits.  

The policy was adopted in recognition of Food Day, a celebration of healthy, affordable, and sustainable food held nationally on Thursday, October 24, 2013.

 “We are thrilled to be working with the County Commissioners to support and strengthen our local food system,” stated FCLFC’s Policy Chair Jill Clark, PhD.  “We celebrate the County’s leadership on this issue and recognize their innovation as part of a unique group of early adopters of this type of food policy.” 

The Franklin County Local Food Council is a diverse coalition of organizations who work in and for food-related businesses in this community.  The mission of the Council is to expand, strengthen and maintain a resilient and local food system.

FCLFC represents growers, academics, health and wellness organizations, anti-hunger initiatives, food sellers, processors and distributors, cooks, investors, city planners, farmers’ market managers, entrepreneurs, and members of government agencies.  It focuses its efforts in three primary areas:  
•    Promoting greater access to local foods across all segments of the population;
•    Encouraging a stronger local food economy by addressing specific infrastructure and supply chain issues such as processing and distribution; and
•    Participating in the policy initiatives of various agencies that relate to local foods development of local foods – from recent chicken/ducks/rabbits zoning to food truck regulations.
A study released by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Council in 2010 shows that Franklin County spends an estimated 4.5 billion dollars on food per year, but that less than 4.5% of that amount is spent on the 1.1 billion dollars of agricultural products produced in the Central Ohio Region.  Redirecting even 10% towards more purchasing of local product would have a $450,000,000 direct economic impact in our region, not to mention the indirect economic benefits.  Local food is a clear economic development opportunity for Franklin County.
FCLFC members work together and independently on a variety of projects that benefit our local food system.  Highlights of leading Council initiatives from the past year include: 
•    Creating innovative food access maps for the city;
•    Working with major institutions in the area to enhance their local food purchasing capacity;
•    Developing resources for restaurateurs interested in accessing more local food; 
•    Engaging with underserved communities across Columbus to achieve their visions for healthy, thriving community food systems.
In June 2013, the Council also released a comprehensive Food Policy Audit, which evaluated the county’s agro-food related policies and programs.  It assessed four broad policy categories including Public Health, Food Access, and Land Use. The Audit found that Franklin County has made significant progress towards ensuring a strong local food system and recommended that the County consider adopting a local food policy resolution to enhance efforts currently underway. The recommendations in this Audit will serve as the basis for continued Council work in the coming months.
 “We are grateful for the Commissioners’ past investment in local food initiatives and look forward to a stronger partnership going forward,” said Amy Bodiker, Council Chair. “This resolution paves the way for deeper involvement with the County and for the possibility of more partnerships across the state to strengthen on our regional food system.”

To read a copy of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners’ Local Food Policy, Resolution No. 809-13, click here.

Left to right: Matt Brown, Jill Clark, Commissioner Marilyn Brown, Caitlin Marquis, Commissioner Paula Brooks, Amy Bodiker, Commissioner John O'Grady

Left to right: Matt Brown, Jill Clark, Commissioner Marilyn Brown, Caitlin Marquis, Commissioner Paula Brooks, Amy Bodiker, Commissioner John O'Grady