The mission is to cultivate shared governance and a county-wide network that builds the power of community voice to make food policies more equitable, honor diverse cultures, and help local food economies to flourish. As a result, developing a new and very different approach to governance for the Council has been critically important work for the group since 2020.
Kia Aoki, Community Liaison for the FPC Startup Circle, shared, “Working on the HCFPC gives me a feeling of empowerment and hope, by providing the opportunity to craft strategies to help everyone get and keep the kind of healthy food they would love to have.”
The Council will be presenting their framework to the community on January 18th and 25th, 2022. They hope that new stakeholders in Hampshire County will join them in planning as they move forward. The two meetings will be held virtually, and are designed to be highly accessible, with accommodations that include interpretation.
Like Food Policy Councils nationwide, the HCFPC will identify and propose innovative solutions to make local food systems more economically and environmentally sustainable and socially just. The group received funding from the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission through the Moving Massachusetts Upstream Investment Program to establish the council. The initial partners for the program included Cooley Dickinson Health Care, the Collaborative for Educational Services/Healthy Hampshire, Hilltown Community Health Center, and Hilltown Community Development.
Charter community members of the HCFPC are excited about entering the next phase of this groundbreaking work in the region and inviting new members of the broader community to learn more at the January 18th open informational meeting. In the second meeting on January 25th, participants who are interested in joining the ongoing work will have an opportunity to engage in working sessions, with more time spent in groups and a focus on storytelling and conversation.
Caitlin Marquis, Healthy Hampshire Program Manager and Operational Coordinator for the group, commented, “When I moved back to Hampshire County in 2014, I really wished there was a space to connect with people who cared as deeply about food justice as I did. I spent the next seven years working toward that goal and I could not be more thrilled that the Food Policy Council is finally coming to fruition. The fact that we have spent so much time thinking about how to make the Council an inclusive space makes me feel confident that anyone who feels passionate about food justice will be able to find a home there.”
To learn more and register for the January events, visit HCFPC.collaborative.org.