The first step in the start-up phase of food council development is to strengthen the organizing group (aka task force).
What does it look like?
- Get really clear on the role of the organizing group (sometimes called a task force, because they are tasked with a single thing: create the conditions for a council to come into being) vs. the role of the council. Refer to this comparison chart for clarification.
- Decide upon a method for making decisions quickly.
- Review the work that needs to be done, then come up with an agreed-upon length of time in which to do it. Work backwards to determine the time commitment that will be required. Establish working agreements and plan to revisit them each meeting to ensure they are still working and modify as needed.
- Create a shared, and SIMPLE, way of communicating with each other and the public. Assign responsibility for updating this information at every meeting. Refer to our list of free and easy communication technology options.
What else should you consider?
If possible, secure an outside facilitator for organizing group meetings. If this is not possible, it will be especially important to address the need for facilitation within the group and stick to formal processes that can roughly substitute for a facilitator.
Tools & Resources
The following tools and resources are helpful in strengthening an organizing group.