Strengthening Food Policy Work in OhioNoreen WarnockLocal MattersCo-founder, Director of Community Outreach
What’s happening in this session? History of the statewide Ohio Food Policy Network; Proposal for a statewide coalition to strengthen and expand food policy work; Development of shared values and goals in a coalition; Examples of successful coalitions in other states Next steps: Moving forward together
My Story • Family on father’s side goes back to 1800’s in Allen County • Farming and food insecurity shaped interest in food system work • 1997-present – food rights work in Ohio • 2002-2005 Greater Columbus Foodshed Project, Director • 2008 - Co-founder, Local Matters
Inspiring action because food impacts the quality of our health, our land, and our communities
As a community collaborator we provide hands-on education and increase access to healthful, delicious food.
We deliver our mission by teaching children and adults: • How to grow food • How to cook it • How to access it affordably
Community-wide Food Planning • The City of Columbus and Franklin County, in partnership with Local Matters, is creating a Local Food Action Plan to support a strong and resilient local food system. • The plan is informed by diverse visions of healthy communities and food plans from eight Columbus communities - Near East Side, Weinland Park, Franklinton, Hilltop, South Columbus, Northland, Linden and Clintonville
Track Record Food Matters:Reaching over 1,000 kids per week during the year and 1,500 in the summer Cooking Matters: Lead Ohio partner for national program; provide healthy meal skills and resources for 2,000 individuals (6,000 family members) Growing Matters:Over 200 gardens in Columbus over the past few years (1,500 individuals per year) Our organization: Delivering life-changing programs to 10k individuals with a budget under $1m. Grassroots support: Top ten in number of gifts in 2015 Big Give
History of the Ohio Food Policy Network • 2007-2010: Ohio State-funded Food Policy Advisory Council (OFPAC) • 2011: OFPAC disbanded by Kasich • Local councils and other state-level stakeholders communicated and collaborated on an ad hoc basis. • April 2012: Over 100 stakeholders met and determined to collectively continue our work together. • Between our first annual meeting in 2012 and the 2013 annual meeting, two distinct goals were developed for our network: 1. To speak with one voice on state-level issues; 2. To act as a hub and a conduit for peer learning and exchange, capacity building and technical assistance. • Recently statewide food system leaders have begun to explore funding opportunities to support the recreation of a Statewide Food Policy Coalition, if we decide to form one.
We are a network of local food policy groups. Would we benefit from a different structure? We get together once every year or two for a statewide meeting; We do our work in our local areas of the state; New food councils have formed; How could we improve our effectiveness?
What’s wrong with a network of local food councils? We don’t have a strong statewide structure or goals to maximize the effectiveness of 21 local groups. Together, we could: • Increase communication among groups and individuals from 21 food policy councils and create alliances where there was little contact before; • Energize and strengthenour work with shared visions and goals; • Plan and launch state-wide initiatives on a variety of issues; • Develop and use political influence; • Better help one another with technical assistance, etc.
Should we form a statewide Food Policy Coalition? Would it help to have an organized and funded statewide group that can… • Develop a clear mission, vision, and shared values & goals? • Be responsive and engaged in the current state-level food projects such as Healthy Food Financing, Ohio’s Plan to Prevent and Reduce Chronic Disease, farmers’ market regulations, etc.? • Act as the necessary bridge between grassroots efforts and federal policy & programs, e.g. Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program (FINI)? • Provide much needed support to the 21 local food policy councils across the state?
Possible Shared Values • Health • Affordability • Accessibility • Fairness • Sustainability • Communication
Possible Goals for a Coalition • Increase the viability of Ohio farms and well-being of farmers using sustainable or organic practices; • Develop and financially support strategies and infrastructure to link producers and consumers through stronger supply-chain partnerships; • Assist Ohio farmers and businesses in marketing their food products to reach Ohioans; • Protect Ohio’s valuable farmland and water resources; • Act as a hub and conduit for peer learning and exchange, capacity building, and technical assistance for local councils; • Provide those in need with greater access to affordable fresh and nutritious foods; • Create an Ohio Good Food Charter
Examples of Functional Coalitions • California • Chesapeake Food Policy Leadership Initiative (MD, VA, DE, WV, PA, and NJ). • Michigan • See food policy council network map
Michigan Coalition Accomplishments The Michigan Good Food Charter was developed by a statewide coalition. Good food is – Healthy, green, fair, and affordable. Vision – We envision a thriving economy, equity and sustainability for all of Michigan and its people through a food system rooted in local communities and centered on good food.
More on the Michigan Good Food Charter (1) By 2020, we believe we can meet or exceed the following goals: Michigan institutions will source 20% of their food products from Michigan growers, producers and processors. 2. Michigan farmers will profitably supply 20% of all Michigan institutional, retailer and consumer food purchases and be able to pay fair wages to their workers. 3. Michigan will generate new agri-food businesses at a rate that enables 20% of food purchased in Michigan to come from Michigan.
More on the Michigan Good Food Charter (2) (goals cont.) 4. Eighty percent of Michigan residents (twice the current level) will have easy access to affordable, fresh, healthy food, 20% of which is from Michigan sources. 5. Michigan Nutrition Standards will be met by 100% of school meals and 75% of schools selling food outside school meal programs. 6. Michigan schools will incorporate food and agriculture into the pre-K through 12th grade curriculum for all Michigan students and youth will have access to food and agriculture entrepreneurial opportunities.
Conclusion Strength in numbers! A statewide Ohio Food Policy Coalition coming together in a structured, focused way can effect more change than individual groups working alone. I propose we convene a working group to create a statewide Ohio Food Policy Coalition with shared goals and values. I also propose that one shared goal be to work on an Ohio Good Food Charter.
Next Steps Form a working group to develop a proposal, including a structure for governance and funding, for a statewide Ohio Food Policy Coalition. Sign the card on your table to join the working group developing the proposal for a statewide Ohio Food Policy Council. Leave the card on the table, please.
Noreen WarnockCo-founder, Director of Community Outreachnwarnock@local-matters.org 614.204.7758 www.local-matters.org