Our Supply Chain Associate Rozie, who happens to live in Providence was recently named to the advisory board of the Rhode Island Food Policy Council. Curious what the food policy council is, and what it does? Read On!
1. What is a food policy council? (thinking national in scope here)
Food Policy councils exist on local, state, and regional levels to influence and improve food systems. These councils are made up of stakeholders from different backgrounds and interests representing the area served by the food policy council. This brings more voices to the table to affect policy covering topics from farming to food security to distribution. No two food policy councils are the same- they are often a forum to bring otherwise disparate groups together to address the governmental, economic, environmental, health, and social aspects of a sustainable food system from production to waste recycling.
2. What is the RI food policy council working on?
The RI Food Policy Council was launched in 2011 and is now in the process of adjusting itself to reflect the Relish Rhody Rhode Island Food Strategy that was published in 2017. The strategy focuses on five core areas:
1. Preserve & Grow Agriculture, Fisheries Industries in Rhode Island
2. Enhance the Climate for Food & Beverage Businesses
3. Sustain & Create Markets for Rhode Island Food Beverage Products
4. Ensure Food Security for All Rhode Islanders
5. Minimize Food Waste & Divert it from the Waste Stream.
While there is ongoing work, such as testifying on state policy legislation and releasing yearly fact sheets on each town in RI, the work groups are still planning their agendas for 2018 and beyond.
3.What in particular do you want to contribute and help the council do?
Rhode Island has an incredibly rich food scene and history, and the council is made up of such a diversity of backgrounds, so for my first year I want to do a lot of listening and learning. Ultimately I want to bring my background in regional produce and logistics to help the council support farmers and producers join and grow in the New England market, as well as continue expanding opportunities for access to fresh, and when possible, local or regional, fruits, vegetables, and proteins. I also bring my unwavering enthusiasm for Rhode Island to the council, and a desire to support all Rhode Islanders making the most of this wonderful little state.
4. What are you most excited for?
Food! Community! Using the experience I have gathered over the past 10 years working for farms, food retail, food hubs, and farmers markets to contribute to state I live in. I can’t wait to work with my fellow council members to continue building a stronger food system in Rhode Island. Implementing the Rhode Island Food Strategy is a huge undertaking, and I’m very excited to take an active role.