The food system in the U.S. is large and complex, with many different stakeholders. While other models target
or two sectors or components of the food system, such as production or processing, this model takes a whole-system
approach to food access problems. Food access issues are not normally limited to one section of the
food system, and if only one part of the system is addressed, food access problems may persist. By including
voices from all parts of the food system, this model addresses problems in a holistic manner.
Food Policy Councils
Food systems models include food policy councils, one of a variety of designators assigned to committees of
community leaders and stakeholders that evaluate and address food system problems. Groups are commonly created
by local, state, or federal governments, but they can also be established by non-governmental agencies. Partners
vary in their background and knowledge of the food system, but most groups include leaders from agriculture,
health, environment, and economic development sectors. Food policy councils' key objectives are to:
Evaluate local food systems
Provide collaborative solutions to system problems
Increase coordination of food system resources
Food policy groups mainly provide policy-based solutions to food system problems. For example, North Carolina
passed the Healthy Corner Stores Act in 2010 after it was recommended by their statewide food policy group.
However, food policy councils' actions are not limited to making policy recommendations. Food policy groups can
build educational campaigns, lead fundraisers, and connect people with system resources. For example, the Kansas Food Policy Council connected rural citizens to
SNAP resources by extending outreach in those areas.
Land Use Policies
Implementing policies that incentivize and encourage the use
of public and private land for agricultural purposes can increase the amount of food grown locally and
preserve an important economic factor in rural communities. Policies can be combined with other food access
models to make implementation easier. For example, ordinances allowing public land to be used for community
gardens can shorten the process of starting community gardens at a later date. Policies also communicate to the
community that local food production and access to healthy foods are both local priorities. Policy examples
include tax breaks for farmland owners, Right to Farm ordinances, and easements for agricultural conservation
This model requires strong relationships with community stakeholders and policymakers. Food policy groups are
most successful when they build credibility among the community and maintain their trust. Comprehensive
evaluations of food policies take time, and council members must be upfront about their commitment. Grants are
available to help fund food policy group activities and assist with sustaining programs.
a Resolution to Create a Food Council
Guide for local governments on how to create a food policy council. This brief includes templates, tips for
choosing council members, example resolutions, and more. Organization(s): Public Health Law Center, Kansas Food Councils
Municipal Strategies to Increase Food Access
Presents multiple strategies that municipalities and food system advocates can use to increase access to healthy
foods. Organization(s): Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Metropolitan
Area Planning Council, Massachusetts Association of Health Boards, Massachusetts Municipal Association
Using Food Policy Councils to Address Rural Food
Research brief about using food policy councils (FPCs) to address food access problems in rural areas. Various
sections help define FPCs, identify challenges and opportunities, and highlight policy implications related to
FPC use. Author(s): Eicher, B., & Eicher-Miller, H.
Organization(s): Purdue Extension Center for Rural Development
Good Laws, Good Food:
Putting Food Policy to Work in the Navajo Nation
Policy toolkit that presents the food laws and policies that contribute to challenges with food security and
access to healthy foods in the Navajo Nation. Author(s): Downer, S., Balkus, O., Leib, E.B., & Blazek, K.
Organization(s): Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, Community Outreach & Patient Empowerment, Navajo Nation