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by Christine Smith, Southcoast Food Policy Council Program Manager

The Southcoast Food Policy Council (SFPC) accomplished much this month. We hosted our second quarterly meeting for SFPC Members-at-Large on April 14, began meeting with our SFPC Working Groups, and recruited and met with three Food Equity Advisors.

The SFPC Quarterly Meetings provide an opportunity for us to report on the current work of the SFPC’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) and garner feedback from the larger network of food policy council stakeholders. During April’s meeting, we shared the process we used to identify Working Groups and the priorities within each, invited feedback from participants, and encouraged people to join one of the Working Groups during our open enrollment process. Additionally, we provided a policy update and shared recent successes of the first Advocacy Action of the MA Food System, and urged people to act on behalf of specific advocacy that aligns with their interests. Lastly, our CAB Co-Chair, Emily Breen,  updated participants about a health and environmental grant opportunity from the MA Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds. You can read the notes and see the PowerPoint from the Quarterly meeting.

Our four Working Groups: Education and Communication, Food Access, Policy, and Capacity Building got to work this month and met for the first time to review priorities, identify who is missing and should be invited into the Groups, and got to know each other better. Future meetings will explore a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis to help develop short and long-term goals and streamline ideas into the larger SFPC work plan. Interested in getting involved? Enrollment to join a Working Group is open until May 4. To join, complete this form and email it to sfpc@marioninstitute.org  or call 508-748-0816 x110.

We also began meeting with our first group of Food Equity Advisors (FEAs). FEAs are residents of southeastern MA who have lived experiences with food insecurity, care deeply about their neighborhoods, and want to be agents of change. Part of the work of the FEAs will be to use their experiences and voices to inform, advise, and update food system policies. Currently, our FEAs represent Fairhaven, Fall River, and Taunton. We hope to recruit five additional advisors from Bristol, Plymouth, and Norfolk counties. If you know someone who might be interested, please get in touch with us at sfpc@marioninstitute.org or call 508-748-0816 x 110.

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