Food Policy Council
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Most of our food is produced on large, industrial farms that grow only a few different crops. Food is typically transported long distances from where it is grown to where it is eaten, and much of it is processed into manufactured products prior to being consumed. There are emerging ways of getting food that rely on smaller producers and focus on local networks for buying and selling food.
Many communities are figuring out innovative ways to support that local food system by creating Food Policy Councils. The councils examine how the local food system operates, and provide policy recommendations to improve that system. Food Policy Councils involve a variety of stakeholders from different segments of the local food system. In some cases, the councils are created through a governmental action, such as an executive order or local resolution. In other situations, grassroots efforts drive and maintain the Food Policy Council structure.
Food hubs are organizations that connect local food producers with local or regional buyers. By helping local producers sell their products in more places throughout a community, such as local and regional grocery store chains, co-operative food markets, local governments, schools, and restaurants, food hubs increase access to fresh, local food.
Food hubs usually require a certain amount of money to get started. Local policies can help by providing public loans or some other type of financing or creating public-private partnerships with local businesses. Food Policy Councils can also play an important role in establishing food hubs.