|About the Council|
Statement of purpose
Engaging diverse partners to foster a healthy and just food system and active community environment.
Individually and collectively we will:
· Educate ourselves, the community and policy makers on food systems and built environment issues that concern our city.
· Advocate within our circles of influence for environment, policy, and systems change.
· Eliminate inequity as it relates to food access and a healthy, safe built environment.
· Collaborate widely to maximize efforts and create synergy between the food system and built environment to effect a cultural change towards healthy eating and active living.
· Celebrate our assets, actions, and accomplishments.
· Incorporate diverse perspectives and members so as to fully represent the Worcester community.
What is a “food system” and “built environment”?
Food system: A food system includes all processes involved in producing food for people: growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consuming, and disposing of food and food-related items. It also includes all the natural resources, labor, infrastructure, and equipment needed for each step in the food system.
Built Environment: The built environment (as opposed to the natural environment) is the part of the environment formed and shaped by people, including but not limited to: buildings, parks, roads, sidewalks, signs, trails, and utilities, and other public and private elements.
In 2004 the Worcester County Hunger-Free Network was formed as a collaboration between the Worcester County Food Bank and its partner agencies working in hunger relief throughout the county. Shortly after, they hosted a Community Forum on Hunger in collaboration with Congressman Jim McGovern. Numerous residents, agency representatives, business and community leaders, and politicians attended, resulting in growing collaboration around the complex issue of hunger.
In 2006 Congressman McGovern contacted then-Mayor Tim Murray to update him on the Forum and seek his support in creating an Advisory Food Policy Council for Worcester. The Council was formed at the appointment of the Mayor in February of 2006. The Council immediately began engaging in the expansion of the Summer Food Service Prgoram, which provides free meals to children and youth under the age of eighteen at sites throughout Worcester.
In January 2007 the Worcester Advisory Food Policy Council (WAFPC) was awarded a Planning Grant by The Health Foundation of Central MA (THFCM). An extensive planning process occurred throughout 2007 and in 2008 the Council was awarded a Pilot Project Grant as part of the Synergy Initiative of THFCM to pilot the project, Hunger-Free & Healthy. Hunger-Free & Healthy was piloted in 2008, was funded for implementation in 2009 and for continued implementation in 2010.
The purpose of the WAFPC is to bring together the many actors and players in the local food system of Worcester, MA. This includes human service agencies, local hospitals and healthcare centers, schools, agriculture, distribution, businesses, social justice organizations, policy makers, public health organizations and anti-hunger advocates. The Council meetings are a place for issues to raised and solutions created.