First NYS Food Policy Council Formed to Improve Erie County Food System

The Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities-Buffalo partnership, a national initiative of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation administered by the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc., is thrilled to be a part of forming the first food policy council in New York State. This has been a goal of the HKHC partners for several years and we are so hwp-contenty to see our work come to fruition, thanks to the hard work of many within the City of Buffalo and Erie County. Below is the press release issued by Sean Mulligan in Councilmember Rivera's office. 

To increase access to nutritious and healthy foods, the Erie County Board of Health has formed the Food Policy Council (FPC) of Buffalo and Erie County. Through a unanimous vote, the Board established the FPC in May 2013. The first of its kind in New York State, the FPC will act as an advisory resource for the implementation of innovative wp-contentroaches to establish better food systems for all municipalities throughout Erie County.
SummitAdvocating for the need of such a Council, food system partners garnered additional support from local policymakers and other stakeholders at the 2011 Buffalo Food Policy Summit. When national food policy experts attended the Summit to assess the state of and make recommendations on how to improve the area's food system, one of the recommendations was to create a food policy council. As a subcommittee of the Board, the FPC is a direct result of the work done by the food policy council steering committee put together by city of Buffalo officials in 2012.

The expertise of the FPC will advise decision makers on issues ranging from obesity and limited food access to economic development options. It will also help to establish local food procurement requirements and increasing opportunities to purchase food grown right here in Erie County.

There are many processes, stakeholders, regulations and resources that are involved with the production, processing, distribution, consumption, and disposal of food. Policies can address regulation, sustainability and physical environment challenges that many residents face, preventing them from having healthy food options. Policies also help to establish healthy communities.

Members of the FPC will be named later this summer. The FPC will most likely comprise of experts from the food system, including farmers, distributors, retailers, consumer advocates, and representatives from government departments that have the potential to impact the food system, which typically include the departments of health, economic development, and planning.

The FPC was created after much preparation and support by many contributors, including the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo; W.D. Henry & Sons Farm; University of Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning; Good Earth, Inc; Healthy Kids- Healthy Communities Partnership, a program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Oles Family Farm; Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc.; Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County; Buffalo City Councilmembers Michael LoCurto and David Rivera; Be Healthy Institute; Dash’s Market; Erie County Department of Environment and Planning & Department of Health; and the Massachusetts Avenue Project.

The FPC looks to convene its first meeting later this summer. If interested in participating, please contact: Sean Mulligan, 716-851-5125, smulligan@city-buffalo.com

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