CAFPC Activity Matrix
The CAFPC Activity Matrix was developed as a tool for Food Policy Councils and Food System Alliances to share best practices and model policies and learn from each other. The Matrix also serves as a tool for identifying areas of activity that are ripe for collaboration across councils and regions, and with additional partners, especially local health departments and government agencies that have mutual goals and complimentary expertise and resources. The Matrix was developed through a series of interviews with members from each council, who were then given an opportunity to review the written document for accuracy.
The Matrix captures the full range of activities engaged in by councils and their member organizations, including current activities and a record of past achievements. It is designed to help people who are interested in working on or collaborating on a particular issue area, to learn from what other councils have done and to identify partners to engage in the work.
Below we highlight model policies and programs that are particularly adaptable to other councils and regions, or that are examples of policies scaled up from the local to the state level — or developed at the state level to be implemented locally. The California Food Policy Council, through its network of local councils at regional and statewide levels, aims to spread successful local policies across jurisdictions, and scale them up to the state level while ensuring strong implementation once passed.
Los Angeles Food Policy Council: Good Food Procurement Policy
Procurement policies refer to internal purchasing policies for public or private institutions. Examples of institutions that might adopt a purchasing policy include health departments, hospitals, or schools. Procurement policies can be adopted by individual institutions or entire jurisdictions, such as a city, county, or school district.
Procurement policies are important tools for making food system change because they leverage the considerable buying power of institutions and governments in support of values-based food producers and distributors. There are many different types of procurement policies that aim to support different values. They might include stipulations around nutrition, geography (to support locally produced food), animal rights, labor rights, and/or sustainability. Procurement policies can compliment other strategies to build a healthy regional food system, such as food hubs and farm to school programs.
42% of the councils/alliances surveyed work on procurement policies.
The Los Angeles Food Policy Council’s Good Food Purchasing Policy (GFPP) is renowned as being the most comprehensive procurement policy in the nation, incorporating five key values: local, humane, healthy, sustainable, fair. Learn more by reading the CAFPC Case Study on GFPP or on the LA Food Policy Council’s website.
Due to national interest in the Good Food Purchasing Policy, it has grown out of the LAFPC into the Center for Good Food Purchasing. Groups currently pursuing GFPP campaigns include Long Beach Unified School District, Oakland Unified School District, and Chicago and Minneapolis cities and school districts.
Mendocino Food Policy Council: Approved Source Code
Food safety regulations are important to ensure a safe food supply where products can be traced back to their source in the case of a foodborne illness outbreak. While Environmental Health Inspectors, nutrition advocates, and supporters of regional food systems can all agree on the importance of a healthy food supply, they can at times disagree on what and how food safety should be regulated. Proponents of healthy regional food systems often argue that farms of different sizes and scale require different regulatory frameworks.
48% of the councils/alliances surveyed work on food safety issues. FPCs can serve as important space for bringing together different sectors to the table to find healthy solutions for complex issues such as food safety.
California Health and Safety Code stipulates that food sold in retailers and food preparation facilities must come from a “approved source.” The Approved Source regulation is designed aims to maintain food safety, but proponents of locally grown food found that it can be a barrier for procurement of locally grown products in institutions such as schools. While perfectly safe in their production methods, famers selling primarily to a local market simply weren’t integrated into the CA Health and Safety Code Approved Source framework.
To increase local procurement while maintaining food safety, the Mendocino Food Policy Council (MFPC) developed an Approved Source Code in partnership with the Mendocino County Department of Environmental Health and Department of Agriculture. Learn more by reading the CAFPC Case Study on the Mendocino Approved Source Code or on the Mendocino County website.
Approved Source has been an issue across the state of California, with many counties creating their own Approved Source Codes. In 2014, the California Legislature passed statewide legislation to address the approved source issue: AB 1990 (Gordon) Food Production. Current legislation, AB 234 (Gordon) seeks to clarify some pieces of the passed legislation. Learn more about Approved Source legislation at the state level from CAFPC ally, Sustainable Economies Law Center.
Sugar Sweetened Beverages
Berkeley Food Policy Council: Soda Tax
Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) refer to beverages that are sweetened with sugar and can include sodas, energy drinks, coffee and iced teas, and even juices. There is increasing concern over the adverse health effects of SSB consumption. SSBs contain calories while being void of nutritional value. SSBs contribute to chronic-diet related disease such as diabetes and obesity, and negatively effect oral health. Further, the calories consumed through SSBs do not make a person feel full, since they are consumed in liquid form and lack fiber. Many people drink SSBs in place of healthy beverages, like water and 100% fruit juices.
55% of FPCs surveyed work on SSBs. These efforts range from educational efforts that inform the public about the negative consequences of sugar consumption, to promoting the consumption of water and healthy hydration, to working on policies to restrict SSB consumption.
Soda taxes have increasingly come into the public conversation as a strategy to reduce SSB consumption while generating funding for programs that improve community health. Soda taxes do have their critics, and several attempts to pass soda taxes have failed in the past few years including in New York City, Richmond California, El Monte, and San Francisco, and most recently at the state level in California. Mexico successfully passed a soda tax in 2013.
Berkeley California became the first city in the United States to pass a soda tax in the fall of 2014. The campaign was spearheaded by the Berkeley Healthy Child Coalition which is separate from, but has some overlap in membership with, the Berkeley Food Policy Council. Initial funds raised through the tax will support Berkeley Unified School District garden and cooking programs, which had been hit by funding cuts. Learn more about the Berkeley Soda Tax on the Ecology Center’s website.
San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance: Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones
Urban agriculture creates healthy community spaces that help to reduce food insecurity, allowing residents to grow their own food. Beyond being a healthy source of nutrition for the neighborhood, urban gardens improve the urban environment creating green spaces to mitigate urban heat islands, provide porous surfaces for storm water capture, and serve as vibrant community gathering places where neighbors can meet and socialize.
81% of FPCs surveyed are engaged in urban agriculture activities.
The San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance spearheaded the California Urban Agricultural Incentive Zone Act, AB 551 (Ting) that was signed into law in September 2013. The legislation is the urban counterpart to the Williamson Act, which provides tax incentives to preserve agricultural land in rural areas. The Urban Agricultural Incentives Act provides tax incentives for landowners to dedicate land to urban agriculture for five years.
The legislation requires local level implementation. San Francisco was the first municipality in California to seize the opportunity created by the legislation. Santa Clara County, Sacramento, and Los Angeles all poised to follow suit. The legislation sunsets in 2019, so it’s important that local jurisdictions capitalize on this opportunity while it’s available and demonstrate the need for these incentives which allow urban farms and gardens to operate with the security that their land is secure enough that seeds sown today can be tended through to harvest.
Learn more about the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone! Check out the implementation guide published by University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension. For more background and details: read this blog post from SPUR, friend of the CAFPC and champion of AB 551, or this article that explains the legislation and the process of getting it passed in more detail.