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by Christine Smith, Southcoast Food Policy Council Program Manager

The Southcoast Food Policy Council’s (SFPC) Quarterly meeting on January 11th provided an opportunity to share the activities over the past four months and the successes during the fall and winter. “It’s great to hear how much we’ve accomplished, although we have miles to go before we sleep,” said one of our Community Advisory Board members.

Here are a few highlights from the meeting:

  • In the Education and Communication Working Group, we solidified the goal of creating a Food System Education Campaign. It will coincide with a number of annual events such as our Eat Local Challenge Month, September Hunger Awareness Month, and the Annual Food Summit.
  • In the Policy Working Group, we initiated a “Candidate Forum” in which state House of Representative candidates in two districts from Bristol County attended and answered Food System questions. This was an opportunity to educate candidates and the public on the food system. We plan to continue holding Candidate Forums each election cycle.
  • Our Food Access Working Group is focused on creating and implementing a gleaning program in Southeastern MA. Gleaning is the process of training volunteers to harvest and recover produce that would otherwise go to waste on the farm. Fresh, local food recovered from a regional gleaning program will help augment pantry staples in local food pantries. Last fall, our food access working group heard from two successful gleaning initiatives: The Boston Area Gleaners and Hope’s Harvest in RI. We hope to continue to learn from them as we strive to develop an SFPC gleaning program that will actively engage youth and volunteers in our work.
  • In the Capacity Building Working Group, we are working toward the goal of creating a regional Food Innovation District. This is a hefty goal with many small steps needed to lay the foundation. With that in mind, we invited Coastal Foodshed to share some barriers to setting up mobile food markets in our area. We are now discussing solutions to address those barriers to food businesses in the Greater New Bedford region

Check out the Notes, PowerPoint, and Video from January 11, 2023, SFPC Quarterly meeting.We encourage you to join our efforts by taking action on legislative advocacy, attending our events, or donating to support the work of the SFPC.

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