Is your food council working to create connections between your community and local decision makers?
Is your group trying to build relationships with policy makers to collaboratively work on food system change?
Consider hosting a candidate forum this fall!
Hosting this type of event is a great way to educate key decision makers on your community’s concerns and needs around food and agriculture. Also, just going through the process of organizing and following through with a forum will help your food council or community group to build and strengthen both its internal and external relationships.
At Community Food Strategies, we believe that developing relationships with decision makers is critical for the success of any food council or community group working to change food and agricultural policy. Elections are a unique opportunity for community engagement with policy makers and are a great time to create space for community dialogue around food, health and agriculture. This is why we developed a toolkit to support groups in organizing candidate forums: “Candidate Forums: An Event Planning Toolkit for Communities.” We recently released an updated version of this toolkit and recorded a podcast that walks you through the toolkit and its accompanying Worksheet & Appendix. The tips and steps outlined in the toolkit are based on our team’s experiences organizing candidate and community forums, working directly with elected officials on policy change, and on common best practices for these types of events.
Please visit our website to download this and our other toolkits, or click on the direct links below.
Want to host your own candidate forum but not sure how to get started?
Our team currently has the capacity for free, hour-long consulting calls with food councils and community groups who are interested in hosting a candidate forum in 2017. To schedule a call, please contact Jared Cates at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 695-3391. We recommend beginning your planning process two to four months before your event, so groups should start their organizing process no later than the beginning of August if you want to host a forum in October.
Don’t have the capacity to organize a full candidate forum event this year?
The San Antonio Food Policy Council recently put together an Op-Ed featuring some candidate responses and potential policy recommendations – https://therivardreport.com/taylor-and-nirenberg-endorse-food-policy-changes/. This is a great idea for food councils to engage with candidates and the broader public, and could be done without organizing a forum or as a follow up after an event.