Coming Soon: A Food Policy Council for Tompkins County

Citizens are encouraged to help shape local food policy


The Food System – Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems Social Issues Team and Elliott Kuhn (graphic artist), 2004.

We all eat. A lot of us love to eat local. We care deeply about the food we eat and the farmers who grow it. But most of us tend to ignore an important piece of our food system – the policy piece. That’s in spite of the fact that almost all of our food choices are shaped – and limited – by local, state and national policies.

Many communities are taking food policy into their own hands by creating a Food Policy Council to advise local governments and promote policies that will encourage a more locally-based, sustainable and equitable food system.

About a year ago, concerned citizens got together to start working on creating a Food Policy Council for Ithaca and Tompkins County. Many members of the Groundswell community have been involved in this process. We developed a proposed structure and election process for the Council and are now in the process of seeking feedback from local citizens, organizations and businesses.

Join the Council

We are now actively recruiting potential Council members who can represent diverse policy stakeholders, including low-income consumers, farmers, food workers, and food business owners. Most of the initial 25 members of the Council will be elected this October from different sectors of the food system, with a focus on those who currently do not have a strong voice in food policy. Some will be appointed by groups with a special stake in the food system or that work closely with people who tend to be underserved by it.  If you think you might be interested, please contact the Planning Group at or 607-252-6695.

Become a “Friend of the Food Policy Council”

Unlike some Food Policy Councils, whose members are appointed by government, our Council members will be elected by a larger supporting group we are calling the “Friends of the Food Policy Council.” Friends will play many important roles including providing transportation and child care for Council members who need it in order to participate.  They may also participate in some of the training activities which we will be organizing in order to educate ourselves about policy issues and processes.

Anyone can become a Friend of the Food Policy Council, simply by submitting your name, address, and contact information (phone and/or email). Friends will receive periodic updates and be able to seek a seat on the Council, and/or to vote for the candidates, in October. If you want to be a Friend, to learn more, to offer your ideas on how the food system could be improved, please contact the Planning Group at or 607-252-6695.

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