Washtenaw Food Policy Council makes strides in developing a good food system.
By Jude Barry, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
The Washtenaw Food Policy Council had an exciting and very productive month in November! Not only did the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners officially endorse their Council’s 23 item policy agenda, but their County’s Board of Commissioners also passed two resolutions that directly support their policy agenda.
The Washtenaw Food Policy Council used the Michigan Good Food Charter as a foundation for their policy agenda and then spent about 9 months developing the agenda document with input from many stakeholders in the local food system. In July 2014, the Washtenaw Food Policy Council approved their Food policy agenda. The Office of Community & Economic Development and the Office of Water Resources, Solid Waste Division were instrumental in preparing materials and doing research needed to present to the Commissioners, as were many of the Policy Action Team members, Council members, and community members.
The Washtenaw Board of Commissioners endorsed the Washtenaw Food Policy Council’s policy agenda on November 19, 2014.
Amanda Edmonds, Executive Director of Growing Hope in Ypsilanti, newly elected Mayor of Ypsilanti and member of the Washtenaw Food Policy Council said, “This is a very exciting step for us. It’s very hard to move forward in developing a good food system without a framework. This policy agenda frames our work and gives us a good comprehensive step to moving forward.”
Each item in the agenda has a work plan that is being developed. Two items that were approved quickly by the Washtenaw Board of Commissioners were:
1. Environmentally Preferred Purchasing – which involves amending the Washtenaw County Procurement Policy (for County government employees) to mandate foodservice ware and packaging that is reusable, compostable, or recyclable. This is from their Policy Agenda Item #5.
2. The Local Vendor Preference Purchasing Policy – which involves changing the County Procurement Policy (for County government employees) to give preference for locally grown, processed and prepared foods (along with local goods and services). This is from their Policy Agenda Item #4.
Amanda said, “We are already taking this policy agenda to institutions in our area and are excited to develop a more sustainable, viable and economical food system in our County”.
For more information on the Washtenaw Food Policy Council and the work that they have done in 2014 please visit their website.
Logo courtesy of washtenawfoodpolicycouncil.wordpress.com/.