Connecting Farm to Food Policy

Access to affordable and healthy food. Support for the local farming community. Accidental collaboration. These are just some of the benefits and focus areas of Food Policy Councils discussed at this week’s Yolo Food Connect meeting.

Gail Feenstra, Food Systems Coordinator for Food and Society and the Deputy Director of the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, shared preliminary findings from a group research project focused on Food Policy Councils in California. Food Policy Councils are cross-sector team focused on policies to address food issues holistically. Many difficulties are encountered when trying to translate research into policy. Some of the challenges that Food Policy Councils face include: lack of time, lack of financial support, and lack of governmental support. Gail and her research team identified that deepening social networks across the food system may be single most important achievement of Food Policy Councils. To learn more about her research on food policy councils click here to view her presentation slides.

Paul Towers, Secretary of the Sacramento Food Policy Council and the Organizing Director and Policy Advocate at the Pesticide Action Network spoke about the Sacramento Food Policy Council. Paul explained that the Sacramento Food Policy Council was created with the goal to make the farm to fork movement more inclusive and equitable. The Sacramento Food Policy Council identified three areas of concentration for 2017. The first priority is to help with the creation of a centralized kitchen for the Sacramento Joint Unified School District. A centralized kitchen will allow entry points for small to medium farmers in our region to showcase their produce, as well as promote healthy food access in the region’s schools. The second priority focuses on advocating that the Sacramento County General Plan be inclusive and equitable in regard to food issues. The third priority focuses on facilitating meaningful collaboration between nonprofit entities in the county who promote healthy food access and EBT access in the Sacramento region. To learn more about his work, click here to view his presentation slides.

Deema Tamimi, CEO of Giving Garden and Catherine Brinkley, UC Davis Assistant Professor for Community and Regional Development, spoke about a proposed food truck pilot program in the City of Davis, as well as the idea of starting a Davis Food Policy Council. The goals of the food truck pilot program are many and include: creating a space to bring students and residents together, providing affordable food options to reduce food insecurity among the UCD student population, and to provide local food options. If successful, participants recommended a similar model at the Woodland Community College, as that campus doesn’t offer fresh affordable food options. When discussing the possibility of launching a Davis Food Policy Council, participants recommended connecting with the existing Yolo Ag and Food Alliance to strengthen relationships throughout the larger community. To learn more about the food truck pilot program and Giving Garden, click here to view their presentation slides.

Let me know your recommendations for future topics Yolo Food Connect should focus on in our efforts to reduce food insecurity in Yolo County.

In shared service,