A shared purpose is a critical factor for food council development. Members must be united in it’s purpose as it affects every other decision the group makes – from designing its structure to taking action. During the start-up phase, the organizing group described the council’s purpose drafted a charter, and sought feedback from the community at large. In many cases, local government formally recognizes the council’s role at this point in the development. During the next phase, it’s important to review what has been done and adjust as needed.
What needs to be done?
First, review the purpose as currently defined.
- Is there anything that is unclear? It may be helpful to revisit the work of the organizing group for clarification.
- Is there anything that members can not live with?
Second, decide on changes that need to be made, if any.
- An inclusive, consent-based decision-making process is needed.
- An outside facilitator is recommended.
What else should you consider?
Don’t get caught up in language and wordsmithing (like mission, vision, values) but define an overall purpose or aim that can guide the work of the council while it grows and expands. Once mature, the council will revisit the purpose to ensure it is still relevant.