Design a Flexible Structure

During the growth phase, a council chooses a decision-making process and affirms and clarifies its purpose.  Now, it can focus on honing it’s structural design and governance.  The structure should build upon the scaffolding set forth in the charter.

Why focus on structure?

Successful food councils are able to accomplish more quickly.  A well-defined process enables individuals to take independent action as part of the whole. Without a well-defined way of working together, or a formal structure, council members can end up functioning in cross-purposes.

What does flexibility look like?

New information, new people, new opportunities and challenges constantly arise in the context of a food system.

The council structure is flexible and well-defined so that:

  • Policy and planning decisions are coordinated across the organization.
  • Sub-committees can form and disband readily and as needed for actionable steps.
  • Council leadership can know what is happening across sub-committees.
  • Member time is respected – meeting substance is relevant to participants.

What else should you consider?

here is an opportunity for the council to form a sub-committee to work on structure and governance. Meanwhile, others on the council can take action on food-related tasks while the growth of the council continues.


Here are tools and resources about designing a flexible structure.