Do you know about our Local Food Policy Council, here in Southwest Colorado?
The La Plata Food Policy Council is a local group in La Plata County that advocates for local, secure, and sustainable food systems for our community.
The Local Food Policy Council started up in February 2011 after the Fort Lewis College Environmental Center and The Growing Partners of SW Colorado hosted the Homegrown Retreat with keynote speaker Mark Winne, a community food activist from Sante Fe, New Mexico.
The retreat and Mark's talk on local food policy served as a great springboard for Durango and the greater SW Colorado community to come together and start a food policy group. There has been great momentum so far, with over 40 people attending the first meeting at Cocina Linda's and interested community members continually joining in.
The FPC aims to tackle local food issues, help generate a greater shift toward local food production and consumption, and increase overall community health through building awareness and providing greater community education. So far, the FPC has created an Excecutive Committee as well as groups on Education and Market, Farm Stand, Community Gardens, Water Issues, Land Stewardship, "Value-Added," Food Production, Production and Distribution, and Composting. If any of those groups or topics sound interesting to you, please contact Karen or attend the next Food Policy Council meeting!
So, what exactly is a Food Policy Council?
A FPC can be anything from a very structured, politically active council to a loose coalition. It is important to see the fundamental underpinning of a FPC as a leverage in Food Democracy. We all have the ability to make decisions and vote with our money for what we want to see happen in our local food system. For example, you can go to Walmart and buy food – it may appear cheaper, but the ripple effects of that action in the community is a major detriment. Alternatively, if you take your money and 'vote' with it at a local farmer's market or food co-operative, then that money is 'multiplied' in the community by at least 5 times – meaning that the money spent there is worth five times as much, if not more, because it stays and circulates in the local community.
Start voting with your money and help leverage Food Democracy in our community today by purchasing local healthy food from the right places – vote smart!
The Food Policy Council is interested and working in the following areas locally:
Outreach and Education: Food safety, food nutrition (e.g., Thrifty Food Calculator, nutrition science, etc.), providing resources for stewardship science, food business strategies, food access, local conferences, marketing/promotion, and workshops
Land Use and Planning: Protecting existing farmland, identifying city-owned lands suitable for agricultural uses, urban agriculture, composting, water issues
Advocacy: Food production, food distribution, food access, workers’ rights, farm stands, value added, Genetically Modified Organisms, and labeling
Technical Assistance Enabling Partnerships: Direct market farming, community gardens, Community Supported Agriculture, school food and institutional purchasing, community economic development
Food Access: Strategies to provide affordable, healthy and appealing food options to children and families and food security.
If any of these areas are of interest to you, get involved in the LPFPC! Contact Jenny Wrenn or