Food Policy Councils and Local Governments: Creating Effective Collaboration for Food Systems Change

  • Clare Gupta University of California, Davis
  • Dave Campbell University of California, Davis
  • Kate Munden-Dixon University of California, Davis
  • Jennifer Sowerwine University of California, Berkeley https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9544-0903
  • Shosha Capps University of California, Davis
  • Gail Feenstra University of California, Davis https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0920-6158
  • Julia Van Soelen Kim UC Cooperative Extension Marin County
Keywords: Food Policy Council, Food Policy, Local Food Systems, Local Government, Collaboration, Collective Impact, Policy Implementation

Abstract

Drawing data from comparative case studies of 10 California food policy councils (FPCs), this paper describes the nature of the relationships between local governments and FPCs and examines how these relationships support policy-related activities and food systems change. We focus our compari­sons on distinct organizational structures, resource flows, and policy activities. All but one of the 10 councils is organized as a multisector community collaborative, rather than as an independent non­profit organization or a government advisory body. Each includes local government personnel as members and most depend on government resources for their operations, including meeting spaces, facilitation, information, and/or direct funding. All 10 councils feature regular meetings at which information is shared to build awareness, relationships, and trust, all of which can indirectly shape policy agendas and initiatives. This policy relevant work is feasible even for small councils with few resources. FPC leaders can also seize opportunities by considering the stages of the policy process they hope to influence, the types of policy issues they wish to address, the time frame it may take to realize different types of policy goals, and the degree to which they will seek incremental or more fundamental changes. We find that struc­tural autonomy—being organized outside of the government while maintaining strong collabora­tions with the government—helps food policy councils retain their independence while promoting more inclusive policy making processes that link community members to the government.

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Author Biographies

Clare Gupta, University of California, Davis

Department of Human Ecology

Dave Campbell, University of California, Davis

Department of Human Ecology

Kate Munden-Dixon, University of California, Davis

Geography Graduate Group

Jennifer Sowerwine, University of California, Berkeley

Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management

Shosha Capps, University of California, Davis

UC Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program

Gail Feenstra, University of California, Davis

UC Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program

Published
2018-10-17
How to Cite
Gupta, C., Campbell, D., Munden-Dixon, K., Sowerwine, J., Capps, S., Feenstra, G., & Van Soelen Kim, J. (2018). Food Policy Councils and Local Governments: Creating Effective Collaboration for Food Systems Change. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 8(B), 11-28. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2018.08B.006