Much like a healthy plant develops its roots and limbs before bearing leaves or fruit, a healthy food council prepares for its real work by developing its structure.
If your community already has a food council and you answer ‘No’ to any of the following questions, you may be in the growth phase of food council development.
- Does your council have an inclusive decision-making process?
- Does your council structure allow for sub-committees and ensure coordination across them?
- Does your council have a communication plan in place?
- Has the council secured adequate resources to support the functions of the council?
- Do council members know how to access available resources?
- Does your council have by-laws or other documentation of its governance?
- Does your council have an assessment or other findings from which it can develop a strategic plan? If so, has a strategic plan been developed? If so, has a corresponding workplan been developed?
Many growth phase tasks may run concurrently with the expansion phase. It is sometimes advantageous for a council to divide into two groups, one handling growth tasks while the other handles expansion. As long as both groups interact with each other, and the expansion tasks don’t outpace the growth tasks, this arrangement allows both ‘doers’ and ‘planners’ to find satisfaction working with the council. Meeting the needs of both types of members helps to build energy and momentum for the council.
- An inclusive climate, where council members understand what is expected of them and are empowered to deliver.
- Alignment of council member expectations of each other and their collective results.
- Capacity for expansion of council to include additional community members.
- Coordination between different sub-committees so that the council acts as a whole.
- Preparation for bringing on new council members without causing disruption to the council.
- Effective communication between council members.
- Frequent communication of council work to the general public and other councils.
- Strategic results that align directly with the vision and mission.
- Activities that align directly with intended strategic results.