Food Lab Helps Establish First Food Policy Council in New York State

Food Policy Summit.

The 2011 Buffalo Food Policy Summit, which the School of Architecture and Planning co-sponsored, garnered support from local policymakers and other stakeholders for the formation of a regional Food Policy Council.

Published June 20, 2013

The Erie County Board of Health has voted unanimously to form the Food Policy Council of Buffalo and Erie County (FPC), the first of its kind in New York State. Local food systems advocates, including Samina Raja, associate professor or urban and regional planning, and members of her Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab, have championed the need for a Food Policy Council for a number of years.

The 2011 Buffalo Food Policy Summit, co-sponsored by the School of Architecture and Planning, brought the issue to the forefront for local policymakers and other stakeholders, laying the groundwork for action. Buffalo City Councilmember David Rivera and his chief of staff, Sean Mulligan, played a key role in achieving policy action.

The Food Policy Council is an advisory body that will serve as a resource to local governments on all issues concerning food, from obesity to limited food access. It will also help to establish local food procurement requirements and increasing opportunities to purchase locally-grown food. Members of the FPC are expected to be named later this summer.

Additional community partners providing critical support in the formation of the FPC include the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo; W.D. Henry & Sons Farm; Good Earth, Inc; Healthy Kids-Healthy Communities Partnership, a program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Oles Family Farm; Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc.; Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County; Buffalo City Councilmember Michael LoCurto; Be Healthy Institute; Dash’s Market; Erie County Department of Environment and Planning & Department of Health; and the Massachusetts Avenue Project.