There you are, at home minding your own business – the latest report, one of your favorite midnight treats got recalled for a reason you’re not quite sure about.
It turns out, the process from farm-to-table isn’t quite as easy as your local convenience store shelf would like you to believe. In fact, players from all over the world come together in a mix of policy, trade, economics, and infrastructure.
This month, WiseTribe is diving into all things food. Join us as we explore the different conversations Delray Beach and the rest of America is having around food.
Food Policy and What it Means
Food policy is the area of public policy concerning how food is produced, processed, distributed, and purchased. Its purpose: to influence the operation of the food and agriculture system.
This often includes decision-making around production and processing techniques, marketing, availability, utilization and consumption of food, in the interest of meeting or furthering social objectives. Food policy can be felt on any level, from local to global, and by a government agency, business, or organization.
Food policymakers engage in activities such as regulation of food-related industries, establishing eligibility standards for food assistance programs for the poor, ensuring the safety of the food supply, food labeling, and even the qualifications of a product to be considered organic.
Who Are the Food Policy Stakeholders?
Food policy, it’s development and its effects, are felt by different stakeholders in communities from Delray Beach to Palm Beach County, greater Florida, the rest of the United States and beyond.
- Consumers: Consumers influence food policy with their pocketbooks. Common consumer interests include
nutritional value, health policy, and education.
- Businesses: Agricultural farmers, restaurant operators, and food and beverage manufacturers help influence food policy,
- Government: Local, state and national food policies and legislation reflect current trends, lobbying, and research.
- NGO’s: Responsible for working across all stakeholders to influence policy and make strategic food policy recommendations.
From Delray Beach to the United Nations
Food policy typically begins at the local level, where local policies influence state and international legislation. In some countries like the United States, the courts are responsible for interpreting law or sending it back to policymakers for clarification. The food policy conversation typically moves more quickly at local, than at national or international levels.
You’ll usually feel food policy in places like the grocery store, your local school, and other places you interact with day-to-day. Typically, when a food issue reaches the national or international stage, its ramifications reflect major economic or health conversations.
International food policy reflects issues that occur in multiple, local communities. The United Nations is just one of the many stakeholders responsible for influencing the food policy conversation.
2019 to 2030: Zero Waste
The United Nations is an international organization. Headquartered in New York City, the UN’s mission is to promote international peace, security, and cooperation among its member-states. When it comes to food policy, the United Nations recently announced a new zero waste initiative.
As part of its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN has influenced policy for the next several years by announcing areas of opportunity, development, and sustainability highlighting various issues across the international community.
By 2030, the goal is to:
- End poverty in all its forms everywhere
- End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
- Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
- Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all
- Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
- Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
- Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all
- Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
- Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- Reduce inequality within and among countries
- Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
- Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
- Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)
- Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
- Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
- Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
- Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
The United Nations is so important because they consolidate research and provides a holistic view at how food and food policy affects communities across borders. United Nations initiatives and focus provide us with the framework to leverage local impact, its ripple effect felt at the international level.
Food is the Focus
With the United Nations help, WiseTribe is committed to joining the conversation. The way we eat, the way we live and the way we interact is changing.
Want to have a voice?
Keep reading to learn ways 6 Women of Color are influencing the food policy conversation. With their help, you’ll have some ideas on how to participate in the food policy conversation.
If you’re interested in joining the conversation, be sure to purchase your #WiseFood shirt and let others know that you’re thinking beyond your plate. In the meantime, please remember to join us for our next volunteer opportunity.
6 Women of Color Influencing the Food Policy Conversation
#1: Carmela Wilkins, Social Impact Designer + Design Researcher
Carmela is a Social Impact Designer and friend of WiseTribe. Early experiences in the kitchen with her mother led to a curiosity on all things black food issues like health, food culture, and identity.
Carmela’s senior thesis work was the inspiration for the creation of her own – a handmade book as part of an upcoming exhibition – which covers black female servitude through the lens of American food culture.
When we asked her what she hoped the impact of her work would be, Carmela simply replied, “for people to start having conversations.”
#2: Komal Ahmad, Founder of Copia
Komal Ahmad is the founder of Copia. Copia’s technology allows businesses to safely donate their excess food, access enhanced tax deductions, and receive powerful data to inform food purchasing.
“It’s not about optimism or pessimism. I think it’s just that we’re hell-bent on making it happen.”
#3: Haile Thomas, Founder of HAPPY
Haile Thomas is a Jamaican-American international speaker, youth health activist, vegan food & lifestyle influencer, the youngest Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach in the United States, and the founder/CEO of the nonprofit HAPPY
This thought-leader and community activist includes mentors like Michelle Obama, Oprah, and Dr. Oz in her social circle.
The most inspirational thing about her work? Haile just celebrated her 18th birthday!
#4: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, United States Congresswoman
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is an American politician and activist. Since January 2019, she’s represented New York’s 14th District. In February of 2019, she and Sen. Ed Markey released the framework of sweeping massive policy titled the “Green New Deal.”
Language in their proposed overhaul of America’s infrastructure puts a focus on sustainability. The plan is “…working with farmers ‘to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions … as much as is technologically feasible’ (while supporting family farms and promoting ‘universal access to healthy food.’”
#5: Ella Simone, Chef, Founder of SheChef
Ella Simone does it all: chef, stylist, and community activist.
Simone heads up SheChef, which offers programs and service designed to impact change & support women as they navigate their career goals through the culinary industry.
‘She believes it’s part of her life’s mission to advance the representation for women of color and provide them with a platform for mentorship, sisterhood, and job placement in the culinary world (BLACK ENTERPRISE).’ (photo: Edible Boston)
#6: Nare Park, Los Angeles Food Policy Council
Esther Park has been a core part of the team at the Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC) since 2012.
She is one of the co-creators of a groundbreaking initiative to build the leadership and business acumen of immigrant business owners in low-income communities to help them bring fresher, nutritious food to their customers.
Through the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network, Park supports “mom n’ pop” store owners to develop healthy food action plans, access new resources and broker collaborative partnerships with local neighborhood residents (University of California, Global Food Initiative)
These are just some of the incredible women of color influencing the food policy conversation in America and beyond.
If you’re interested in joining the conversation and influencing food policy, be sure to follow WiseTribe on Facebook.