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.
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.