Armed with local food partnerships, cities can help turn around the health, social, environmental and economic crises

14 December 2017

The New Food Economy, an independent non-profit newsroom, has published an article on the revolution that local food policy councils are driving in the US. A must read for food policy councils/local food partnerships everywhere.

The growing influence and impact of food policy councils - taking over from the failures of top-down attempts at national food policy-making - is compelling non-profit foundations to invest in them. “Food policy councils are incredibly effective,” says Calla Rose Ostrander, a consultant to California non-profit foundations. Clients, including the Jena and Michael King Foundation, are funding the FPC movement. “Food policy councils engage their communities, organize people to be heard and effect changes that improve the overall food system. I am seeing their direct impact on local and state food policies.”

It has taken a few years for the results to become apparent but food policy councils have now emerged as the most effective way of making good food happen. Ten years ago there were only a handful of FPCs in the US now there are 263 and they are proving a worthy investment.

A lot of social capital is built when people no longer work in isolation. In some places, very interesting bi-partisan work is going on, connecting people with different political agendas to fix common problems.” The key is strong local leadership and dedicated professional staff, says Anne Palmer, Food Communities and Public Health program director at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. “These are not big investments.

Los Angeles has the largest and arguably most successful FPC in the country. Launched by the mayor’s office with no budget in 2011, the council now raises $1 million a year to fund programs primarily aimed at improving access to healthy food and support for local food producers. Three hundred food system stakeholders participate in its working groups. 


The same movement is gaining momentum in the UK through the Sustainable Food Cities Network. Evidence of impact from pioneer local food partnerships is evidently there, as this article shows. They have the potential to be the driving force behind a good food revolution in the UK starting at a borough, town, city, county, region level. They only need to be given the means to achieve it.

Read the article


Leon Ballin
Sustainable Food Cities
07 917 230 121

Sustainable Food Cities is a partnership programme run by

Soil Association

Food Matters

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Sustainable Food Cities is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

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