NYS Council on Food Policy Issues Report to Governor
The New York State Council on Food Policy was created in May of 2007 by Governor Eliot Spitzerís Executive Order No. 13, in which it is recognized that a need exists to support the Stateís agricultural industry as well as to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to safe, affordable, nutritious food. The twenty-one members of the Council on Food Policy were appointed in September of 2007 after a rigorous and thoughtful selection process. The Council members include seven state agency heads and 14 members from the public and non-profit sectors. Together they represent nearly all aspects of the food system. At the time of appointment, Governor Spitzer charged the members of the Council with the tasks of helping the State coordinate its food-related policies and promote healthier communities.
In October of 2007, the Council on Food Policy held its first meeting in Albany, NY. This meeting was open to the public and well attended. The meeting consisted of short overviews of: State demographics, some of the existing food security and nutrition related programs operating in the State, and the food industry in the State. A discussion period followed in which Council members expressed their food policy priorities and offered suggestions for key issue areas to focus upon in the coming year. Many members of the public seized the opportunity to contribute their food policy related comments and concerns to the Council members.
As a result of information shared at the Council meeting, individual expertise, and consideration of public comments, Council members identified four (4) key food policy issue areas for more in-depth examination in the coming year. Maximization of collaboration potential along agency, public and private sector lines within these key issue areas contributed to the discourse. Health concerns, such as the need to combat diet-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease strongly influence all priorities presented.
Key Issue Areas identified by the Council on Food Policy are as follows:
1) Maximize participation in food and nutrition assistance programs;
2) Strengthen the connection between local food products and consumers;
3) Support efficient and profitable agricultural food production and food retail infrastructure; and
4) Increase consumer awareness and knowledge about healthy eating and improve access to safe and nutritious foods
Researching and evaluating the efficacy of the Key Issue Areas and associated priorities to meet the objectives of Executive Order No. 13 will be the basis for Council activities in the coming year. The Council proposes to develop and recommend a specific food policy for the State that will ensure the availability of an adequate supply of affordable, fresh and nutritious food to its residents, and expand agricultural production. Additionally, the Council proposes to develop and recommend a strategic plan for implementation of the State food policy, including benchmarks and criteria for measuring progress. Further, the Council intends on offering comments on State regulations, legislation and budget proposals in the area of food policy.
Being highly sensitive to the value of stakeholder input to gain accurate perspective on the issues, the Council members are preparing to hold numerous public hearings around the State. The next scheduled meetings for the Council are in May and October of 2008 or as business requires.
The full text of the NYS Council on Food Policy Report to the Governor and Appendixes are available at NYS CFP Report 2007 and Appendixes A-C
For information about the NYS Council on Food Policy contact:
Dept of Agriculture and Markets, Deputy Commissioner, Jerry Cosgrove : firstname.lastname@example.org
Dept of Agriculture and Markets, Coordinator, Ann McMahon : email@example.com