The California Food Policy Council is a collaborative of local food policy groups working to ensure that California’s food system reflects the needs of all of its communities. The California Food Policy Council’s (CAFPC) purpose is to build the capacity of local food policy bodies to find common ground on statewide policy priorities, generate public support for those policies, educate policymakers on issues in our food system, and advocate for systems change in California. The CAFPC is an emerging voice in California’s policy making process that strives to bring transparency to food systems legislation, and to re-envision a political process that includes a more diverse range of food and farming interests to the table.
The CAFPC’s governing documents have been approved by its members and exist as living documents. The council continues to work on refining the language to ensure that they truly reflect the desires of this council of councils. If your local food policy body is interested in ratifying the principles below and joining this values-driven collective impact effort, please contact Roots of Change to learn more about the ratification process.
In February 2013, the Oakland Food Policy Council, Richmond Food Policy Council, San Francisco Food Security Task Force, and San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance were the first four local policy bodies to ratify CAFPC’s guiding principles. The CAFPC now has 29 ratified members that represent local communities from up and down the state of California. The guiding principles represent the innovative thinking and practices this group abides by. The principles also showcase the council’s commitment to work collectively with local, state and federal government institutions and private sector entities to enact just, transparent and sustainable food policies that improve California’s food and farms:
- Ensures access to nutritious, culturally appropriate food as a basic human right. The CAFPC supports policies and practices that contribute to the establishment of food production and distribution systems that ensure easy access to healthy, sustainable, and affordable food and potable water in all communities.
- Reduces health and income disparities and the concentration of resources, while upholding the dignity, security, and self-determination of all the communities it serves. The CAFPC supports equity enhancing policies and practices that strengthen opportunities and benefits for disadvantaged farmers, workers, businesses and communities that experience disproportionate environmental, economic and health hardships.
- Makes the healthiest choice the easiest choice. The CAFPC supports policies and practices that promote health and result in food environments that provide access to an abundance of affordable, fresh food choices, incentives to consume healthy, humane, local and California grown foods.
- Protects and restores our environment and vital natural resources, such as air, water, soil, biodiversity, climate, and wildlife and eliminates waste wherever possible. The CAFPC supports policies and practices that prevent resource degradation, encourage waste reduction and composting, promote conservation farming and reduce chemical inputs and energy use, while taking into consideration the need to ensure abundant production and economically viable farm and food businesses.
- Supports a vibrant and diverse food and agriculture economy comprised of businesses of multiple scales that sell into local, regional, state, national and international markets, while creating strong linkages and benefits for our local and regional economies. The CAFPC prioritizes policies and practices that strengthen local and regional food and agriculture businesses as an effective way to deliver widespread economic benefits to small- and mid-scale producers, while achieving greater equity, health, access, consumer awareness and long term connections between farmers and consumers.
- Recognizes that a fair food system requires functional immigration and labor policies that uphold the dignity, safety, and quality of life for all who work to feed us. The CAFPC supports policies and practices that ensure living wages for all food system workers, including opportunities for advancement and ownership and that expand employment in the food sector.
- Recognizes the vital role of education in preparing our youth to become the next generation of informed eaters, producers, and food chain workers. The CAFPC supports policies and practices that build school food environments that are based on healthy, sustainably produced, California grown food. We support curriculum that incorporates food literacy and garden-based education, promotes the links between producers and consumers, health, food, and the environment and gives children, families and community leaders the resources they need to learn about food production, nutrition, cooking and food economics.
- Values our farmland and fisheries and the hard work and commitment of our farmers, fisherfolk, and ranchers. The CAFPC supports policies and practices that will protect agricultural land, rivers and oceans and provide the necessary incentives, resources, technical support and outreach to help beginning and existing producers to thrive economically while delivering healthy, affordable and sustainably produced food.
- Operates within a global food system that generates economic, political, and market realities that impact the choices of California producers, food businesses, policymakers and consumers. The CAFPC recognizes the need to reform global policies in order to remove barriers to a healthy, equitable, vibrant and sustainable California food system.
- Requires that all food system stakeholders are engaged in the political process and in vigorous dialogue with each other at the local, regional, state and national level. The CAFPC encourages and actively engages in this dialogue with members of government, community organizations, academia, public health organizations, food producers, labor, food industry representatives, business, policy advocates and the public to create meaningful and effective collaboration.