"Equity" a essential component of desired state ~ Local food focus ~ A Plan is Needed ~ 12-24 Month Timeframe ~ Shared Vision ~ Stay Pragmatic
Good morning, I hope the meeting on Tuesday is fruitful! I’ve added a few of my quick thoughts in the agenda below.
It seems important that we agree on what a healthy food system looks like. This need not take long to develop and doesn’t need a lot of specificity. Example Michigan Good Food Charter. When we are successful, what does that look like? What is our “desired state”? For me, equity is an essential component.
Are we talking about locally grown food? Are we interested in strengthening linkages between local food and healthy people/communities?
· What’s missing in the Central Texas Food System?
My favorite graphic of the food system is the one from nourish.org (except it’s missing a line of money out from farmers) [Attached]
Curt’s graphic does a good job showing the layers of the system.
o Do we need a Regional Food Systems Plan?
§ Or an ‘initiative’?
§ Or a ‘collaboration’?
Yes, we need a shared plan. It would be useful to conduct a food system assessment to help identify and prioritize areas of focus and gather public support. I’ve long supported a food system assessment that uses secondary data - could take 6 months or less. The main purpose is to synthesize the data and create a public document to educate policy makers, the public, and catalyze action across sectors.
A plan might then look like a list of set of strategies that various organizations will take on and accomplish over some period off time. Include the private sector.
· If we think a Plan is needed:
o What is the ideal geographical scope? What is feasible?
o What is the ideal process? What is feasible?
Hire consultant to pull secondary data based on our favorite existing plans, charters, assessments. Need local FTE to be point person. Regional leadership and advisory committee/s. Prerequisite is clear ownership of the process by key players - through the process, we will will hit roadblocks and we need to be ok with that and work around together.
o How long will it take?
Phases over 12-24 months.. depends on level of detail.
o What are the deliverables?
Ensure equitable representation on lead team.
Vision or charter
o How much would it cost and who would fund it?
Depends of level of detail.
Lots and lots of coordination needed so 1-2 FTE for with consultant for each phase. Each key org will need to name staff person to coordinate within their org and customer base.
There might be some funding justification here in this USDA report to Congress.
· Next Steps
o Create a Leadership Taskforce
§ Define roles and responsibilities
§ Set meeting schedule
§ Identify funding options
Texas Center for Local Food is happy to serve as needed. Our roles could include coordination, project management, farmer involvement. We definitely want to be a part of this effort - it will help us achieve our goals. Honestly though we would need finding to dedicate staff time.
Ideally we all share the same vision, each with our own missions and areas of the work. This initiative can help us all achieve our missions. Do we have gaps in the work to achieve our vision? I’m less concerned about duplication of effort than I am about whether are we doing the right things as a region.
There are hundreds of folks in central Texas working on food without necessarily thinking about it. Can we use this process to engage and support them in their own communities?
This process may serve as a guide for the nascent statewide collaborative that arose as a possibility out of the Community Food Systems training in Elgin in May. The two processes will likely be simultaneous.
Let’s not take too long or over study. Stay pragmatic.
I hope these thoughts are helpful.