From LUCY NEELY
The Gardens Project
On March 1st, the Board of Supervisors approved a resolution to recognize and support the establishment of a Mendocino County Food Policy Council, which intends “to collaborate with institutions, businesses, and the public at large to create a sustainable local food system that reduces hunger, increases health and expands economic vitality.”
Linda Helland is a Public Health employee who has been organizing with the Food Policy Council since its beginning. Linda is generous of spirit and energy. She chats earnestly with the mail man and rides a bicycle even when the sky is spitting. I asked to interview her for this article, and as she came out to meet me in the foyer of Public Health and escort me back into the bowels of the building, she seemed more tired and stressed than usual. Upon my inquiry, she spoke of layoffs and low morale, program cuts and parsimony. So we made some tea and sat down to talk about the Food Policy Council (FPC).
FPCs are springing up around the country. The first formed 25 years ago in Knoxville, Tennesse, and now there are more than 100 FPCs nationwide, primarily on the city and county level. Increasing numbers of funders are requiring that communities have an FPC to be eligible for grant funding.
The Mendocino County FPC emerged from the Local Food Summit of May 2010. Organizers of the Summit,