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Buffalo's Food Policy Council

By Dabreon Darby

On May 21, 2013, the Erie County Board of Health voted unanimously to create the Food Policy Council of Buffalo and Erie County as a sub-commission of the Erie County Board of Health, the first of its kind in New York State. The Food Policy Council of Buffalo and Erie County brought the issue of bettering local food systems in Buffalo and Erie County to the forefront of food policy makers. The Food Policy Council of Buffalo and Erie County's main objective is to advise the Buffalo and Erie County legislatures and politicians on what decisions to make about local food policy in the region.

The Food Policy Council has just been put into effect earlier this year. They have only met once to decide on a what to do in the future. The Toronto Food Policy Council has been in existence longer  so they have already been working on policies and that’s what our Food Policy Council hopes to achieve in the near future.

The Toronto Food Policy Council is focused on food strategy, urban agriculture, and an agricultural committee to better local food systems in their area. Working with Sustain Ontario, the Toronto Food Policy Council had been advocating for a Local Food Act in Ontario. The Act was tabled in October of 2012, but on November 5 of this year, the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed the Local Food Act (Bill 36) and launched the new Local Food Fund.

The Local Food Act makes Ontario the first in Canada to adopt a bill aimed helping to increase awareness, access to, and demand for local food in the province, and support local food procurement in public sector institutions (schools, municipalities, hospitals, cafeterias) and getting a Street Food Update for Food Trucks. The Toronto Food Policy Council has been around much longer than the Food Policy Council of Buffalo and Erie County and are a good role model for what we want to accomplish in our region.

There are many ways to participate for the Food Policy Council of Buffalo and Erie County:
  • Become a Council Member
  • Become a Sub-Committee or Non-Voting Member
  • Support the Council through a local food systems advocate organization
Become a Council Member- The next application cycle will take place in March. Council members are volunteers and must attend four Food Policy Council meetings a year. People with experience in the food system (farmers, processors, retail) and those with interests in food issues (consumer concerns, food access, nutritional issues, etc) should apply.

Become a Sub-Committee or Non-Voting Member-  Sub-committee members assist the Food Policy Council on a project basis. Non-voting members have the opportunity to provide input on issues put before the Food Policy Council before they go to a vote.

Support the Council- Getting involved with a local group that advocates on behalf of food access and justice also helps support the Food Policy Council's goal of improving the local food system.

Learn more about Food Policy Councils at:

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