July 2013: California Food Policy Council

The following is from an interview with Michael Dimock, President of Roots of Change

The California Food Policy Council (CAFPC) was formed by Roots of Change to support members of the food movement that sought to collaboratively affect policy at the local, state, and federal levels. In the summer of 2011, Roots of Change asked Food Policy Councils, Food System Alliance Groups, and others to convene and discuss how they could be more effective in making their communities more healthy and resilient. The California Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Diana Dooley, and Food and Agriculture, Karen Ross, co-hosted the meeting in Sacramento, out of which was developed a calendar, preliminary agenda, and set of potential policy goals. Since the initial meeting, 27 of 30 Food Systems Alliance and Food Policy Council groups in California have agreed to a set of guiding principles for policy goals and operational guidelines of deciding which policies to pursue and how. Members of the Council believe that through food and agriculture legislation California’s various communities, ecosystems, and businesses can be safer, healthier, and more prosperous. One challenge of the CAFPC is that different food policy councils and alliances around the states are at  varying levels of maturity. Some are large, some small, some developed, and some just beginning. However, as Food System Alliance Groups and Food Policy Councils around the state continue to evolve, it is believed the CAFPC will be able to work together more effectively.

According to Mr. Dimock, the CAFPC “is a manifestation of the maturation of the food movement in California.” He believes that the CAFPC is doing a good job of bringing partners together and getting work done.  A tangible goal that he believes the CAFPC will achieve by its December 2013 Summit Meeting is a legislative report card, which will help clarify for the public where different legislators stand on existing policies in California relating to food and agriculture. Leading up to the December Summit, CAFPC continues to refine a platform of policy goals and 2014 priorities that will lay the foundation for future campaigns.

According to Mr. Dimock, the CAFPC is doing great things to ensure that policies will promote an equitable food system, and at the same time, maintaining the continuity of farms and food businesses. In the words of Mr. Dimock, this is a “natural evolution” for California.

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