New Farm & Food Action Council Kicks off in Clinton County
By Amber Shinn, Shinn Marketing Communications
The newly-formed Farm & Food Action Council of Southern Clinton County approved their structure and bylaws on October 25, 2011, with a mission to serve as a catalyst for opportunities and partnerships that support healthy food from the farm to the plate.
Building on Bath Charter Township’s existing partnership program with neighbor communities Dewitt Charter Township, Watertown Charter Township and the City of Dewitt, the Food & Farm Action Council quickly engaged more than 150 community members directly on food issues and developed an even larger list of supporters, growers, parents, educators, businesses and consumers throughout the region.
Through public meetings and focus groups during 2011, four issues were found to be most important to the communities involved: farm to school, community gardens and healthy food access, community kitchens, and marketing and distribution of local foods. Committees formed around each issue, and now meet regularly to develop action plans for making changes in 2012. A common feature of Farm & Food Action Council meetings and events are the strong networking and community-building opportunities. This has been important to garnering group support and to providing immediate value for attendees, even during brainstorming and discussion sessions. For example, simply putting producers and buyers in the same room creates business arrangements that help the local food system grow.
The Farm & Food Action Council’s main goal is to create an environment where all people have access to Locally grown and produced food, and quality growers and producers are able to thrive. Long term success will be proven by the group’s progress on the four main issues, continued service as a useful sounding board for ideas, and an effective platform for action.