Do we really need more laws and regulations or can we promote healthier communities through sound effective food policy?
As different projects, programs and initiatives are developed around Virginia and the country to address obstacles, challenges and needed change in the food system, communities and states are evaluating policies that can affect and inform change.
The Virginia Food System Council was formed for this purpose and continues to work to advance a nutrient-rich and safe food system for Virginians at all income levels, with an emphasis on access to local food, successful linkages between food producers and consumers, and a healthy viable future for Virginia’s farmers and farmland.
The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Drake University Agricultural Law Center are two notable organizations that provide resources and legal assistance regarding food policy and laws for local and state food policy councils, task forces and decision makers.
Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic was established in 2010 in to specifically provide legal assistance on a pro bono basis to individuals and communities on various food policy issues. This service gives their law students experience working on timely relevant food and community issues. The Clinic’s mission is to provide legal resources and assistance to enhance access to healthy foods, inform policy that affects and prevents chronic diet-related diseases, and strengthen local food markets for producers and consumers..
The Clinic recently published two toolkits to assist and strengthen state and local food policy councils and groups. Similarly, the Drake University Agriculture Law Center maintains a frequently asked questions resource guide about food policy councils and other resources to inform agricultural and food policy.