On May 14, 2014, New York City Council Members Ben Kallos and Brad Lander introduced Int 0329-2014, a bill to create a 17-member New York City Food Policy Council. Food Policy Councils can be found in municipalities across the US and the world.
Food policy activist Mark Winne defines a food policy council as “a designated set of individuals representing various sectors—government and non-government, food production to consumption-of a geographically and jurisdictionally defined area.”1 Food Policy Councils (FPCs) are typically established to carry out four functions: to serve as a forum for discussion of food issues; to foster coordination among the sectors of the food system (production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste management); to evaluate and influence policy: and to recommend, launch or support programs and services that address local needs.2
As currently written, the NYC Food Policy Council would have appointments from the Mayor, the Speaker and the Public Advocate, and Borough Presidents. It would have formal powers, including:
- Produce an annual analysis of food systems in the city;
- Provide advice on food-related federal, state, and local legislation, regulations, budget proposals, spending plans and programs;
- Conduct policy research and gather data;
- Make recommendations on food related pilot programs;
- Produce an annual analysis of food systems in the city; and
- Convene issue-focused working groups.
The process will continue with a public hearing later this summer or early fall, in a process we hope will be inclusive of all New York City voices.
1Mark Winne, “Food Democracy on the March,” Harvard Health Policy Review .Fall 2012, Volume 13, No. 2, p.24.
2 list adapted from Alethea Harper, Annie Shattuck, Eric Holt-Gimenez, Alison Alkon and Frances Lambrick , Food Policy Councils: Lessons Learned, Food First, Institute for Food and Development Policy, 2009 p.2.