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