Supporting the food system of Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, Union and York Counties and the Catawba Indian Nation

Catawba Farm and Food Coalition

Catawba Indian Nation 

Policy and Planning

Guiding planning and policy change to support the development of a secure and sustainable food system in Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, Union, York Counties and the Catawba Indian Nation.

What is a Food Policy Council?

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:


  • nutrition
  • food-related health issues
  • sustainable farming
  • equitable access to healthy food
  • economic development related to food


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.

What is a Food System?

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.

  • Food security is a key goal of community food systems. While food security traditionally focuses on individual and household food needs, community food security addresses food access within a community context, especially for low-income households. It has a simultaneous goal of developing local food systems.
  • Proximity refers to the distance between various components of the food system. In community food systems such distances are generally shorter than those in the dominant or global food system. This proximity increases the likelihood that enduring relationships will form between different stakeholders in the food system – farmers, processors, retailers, restaurateurs, consumers, etc.
  • Self-reliance refers to the degree to which a community meets its own food needs. While the aim of community food systems is not total self-sufficiency (where all food is produced, processed, marketed and consumed within a defined boundary), increasing the degree of self-reliance for food, to be determined by a community partnership, is an important aspect of a community food system.
  • Sustainability refers to following agricultural and food system practices that do not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their food needs. Sustainability includes land and environmental protection, profitability, ethical treatment of food system workers, and community development

Source: Cornell University

Workgroup Members

Janet Wojick

Elise Ashby

Gloria Kellerhals

Ben Boyles

Melody Reid

Sarah Key

Technical Advisor

Jared Cates

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association >>

Community Food Strategies >>