What is a Food Council?

Food councils are community-based coalitions, often but not always organized by county, that help promote more resilient food systems. 

Councils build connections across stakeholders and collaborate to improve health, food access, natural resource protection, economic development, and production agriculture for all its community’s citizens. Using this cross-sector approach, food councils solve broad food system issues and give communities more control over the food they consume.

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Many people in different sectors work to address issues that intersect with food.

Usually not one group exists to tell the story of the food system as a whole. That’s what food councils can do.

Councils provide a shared way of thinking about the whole food system by including voices from many different sectors.

Food councils put the pieces together and tell the story of the whole food system.

Who is involved?
Food councils are intentionally cross-sector. They often include representation with the following groups:

  • Public health professionals
  • Local government officials
  • Farmers and/or agricultural organizations
  • Restaurant and local business owners
  • Cooperative Extension staff
  • Soil and Water Conservation District staff
  • Faith communities
  • Public schools
  • Interested parents and consumers
  • Food pantry and food security advocates
  • Community colleges or universities

What do food councils do?

The work of food councils looks different in every community. In general food councils:

  • Engage experts to better understand the food environment
  • Connect decison makers and stakeholders to align programs and initiatives
  • Educate leaders and the community
  • Recommend program and policy change to affect the local food system

See some of the 2016 Accomplishments of food councils in North Carolina.

Support for Local Food Councils

Statewide entities, including Community Food Strategies and the Local Food Council of North Carolina, are currently helping build the capacity of local food councils with food system expertise, organizational development, trainings, resources, and networking opportunities.

Network of North Carolina Food Councils

A growing network of more than 25 food councils is developing across North Carolina. Councils are looking for collaborative partnerships and support to make greater impact in their communities.

Find more information on food councils across North Carolina.

NC_FoodCouncils

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