Food Policy
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Food Policy
Image: Gardening Tools

Why Food Policy?

Image: Woman carrying potatoes. Photography by Doug Gosling, Occidental Arts & Ecology Center

When you begin to consider the source of food as a food system, it becomes clear that hundreds of decisions are made about that food before it reaches the plate. Those decisions are determined and regulated through numerous government agencies at the national, state, county and municipal level. Food Policy helps to ensure that decisions affecting what we eat are made in a consistent and healthful way.

Our goal is to convene a broad range of community perspectives to develop food policy in Sonoma County and facilitate its implementation. This program will support the research, outreach and administration necessary to establish a Food Policy Council.

Food Policy can be created and implemented by institutions interacting in the food system. Any organization that serves food, such as schools, prisons or hospitals, can develop and implement food policy. Food Policy can be focused on what is served (fresh and healthful or processed and genetically modified), how and when it is grown (sustainable, organic or conventional, seasonal or preserved) or who grows it (local farms, small farms, industrialized agribusiness). Municipalities can implement food policies which support elements of the food system, such as local agriculture, restaurants and grocery stores. Food policy can make a difference in the food we eat and the quality of life in our community.

Food Policy Councils

To address the need for cohesive food policy in a municipality, region or state, many cities, counties and states are forming Food Policy Councils. These Councils rely on the expertise of public and private stakeholders who make daily decisions which affect our food. These stakeholders include grocery Image: Garden. Photography by Doug Gosling, Occidental Arts & Ecology Centerowners, executives, emergency food providers, farmers, public health experts, transportation agencies, food waste managers, community based organizations and partners/members of our community. These representatives play a coordinating role for food policy within their jurisdiction. At this time, Sonoma County does not have a Food Policy Council. Decisions affecting our food system are left to many different entities with varying missions and focus. Food Matters in Sonoma County is working to establish a Food Policy Council for Sonoma County. If you are interested in supporting these efforts, please contact us.

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  • Provide resources & support to Sonoma County schools seeking to develop a food policy.

  • Conduct a county food assessment to identify the food system assets and needs of Sonoma County.

  • Work towards the establishment of a Sonoma County Food Policy Council that will research and develop policy guiding local food and farming practices.

To view sample Food Polices and ideas for establishing a Food Policy for your region, click on the links below:

School Food Policy

Ukiah Unified School District

Lagunitas School Food Policy

City Food Policy

Berkeley, California

County Food Policy

Knoxville, Tennessee
Structure: City-County Food Policy Council

Knoxville-Knox County Food Policy Council Bylaws

State Food Policy

Iowa Food Policy Council  

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Photography by Doug Gosling, Occidental Arts & Ecology Center.
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