Carrie Draper, Co-chair
USC - Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior
SC State University
Alissa Ritzo Duncan, Co-chair
Eat Smart Move More SC
SC Community Loan Fund
Central Midlands Council of Governments
Lowcountry Local First
Beginning in March 2005, volunteers
formed a steering committee to begin the discussion and exploration of
creating a statewide food policy council that would work towards the
improvement and expansion of healthier and more informed food choices
by South Carolinians. As a result of the steering committee findings, on
March 17, 2006, the SC Food Policy Council (FPC) held its first general
membership meeting and continued to meet throughout the year.
General members of the FPC include representatives from state
government agencies, university faculty members, agricultural
commodity associations, food banks, farmers, elected officials, and
The FPC serves as a
forum for members to share their concerns as well as their progress on
related programs and initiatives that are related to the food system
here in South Carolina. The networking opportunities and the
information shared at these meetings have greatly benefited many of
the members of the Council as they work towards the goals of continued
growth, promotion and protection of a healthy agricultural industry
and a safe and plentiful food supply in South Carolina.
By drawing on the knowledge and experience of people from all segments of the local food system, a Food Policy Council becomes a source of information for the policy makers in government. A council can also help government agencies see how their actions affect the food system.
No state or city has a “Department of Food,” but a food policy council can take on
the essence of that role. It can look for those areas among government agencies where food issues intersect. FPCs can also be a bridge between the public and private sectors on food issues. And they can be a primary source of food education for the citizens at large, addressing such topics as:
Another good answer for why food policy councils are important: FPCs foster communication and civic action at the grassroots. They’re a chance for people to shape, from the bottom up, the nature of a system that can seem distant and bewildering, even as it affects so much of their lives. Achieving food democracy and social justice is a key part of any food policy council’s mission.
A community food system is a food system in which food production, processing, distribution and consumption are integrated to enhance the environmental, economic, social and nutritional health of a particular place. A community food system can refer to a relatively small area, such as a neighborhood, or progressively larger areas – towns, cities, counties, regions, or bioregions. The concept of community food systems is sometimes used interchangeably with “local” or “regional” food systems, but by including the word “community” there is an emphasis on strengthening existing (or developing new) relationships among all components of the food system.
Four aspects distinguish community food systems from the globalized food system that typifies the source of most food Americans eat: food security, proximity, self-reliance and sustainability.