PA Launches Statewide Food Policy Council
Pennsylvania’s first statewide Food Policy Council launched May 25 with its inaugural meeting at the state Department of Agriculture. Advocates, including LAMPa, have been working for years toward the creation of such a council to foster coordination, collaboration and a holistic vision to the commonwealth’s food system.
“I am thrilled to see this finally happening,” said LAMPa Director Tracey DePasquale, “and encouraged by the commitment, leadership and diversity I saw and heard. The partners at the table, and the perspectives that they bring — from those who have experienced hunger to those who feed our children, from those who care for the land that produces the food to those who speak for the safety and dignity of farm workers — are part of the communities we serve all across the Commonwealth.”
The Pennsylvania Food Policy Council was established in December 2022 by Executive Order 2022-05. signed by then Gov. Tom Wolf.
The Pennsylvania Hunger Action Coalition, which includes LAMPa, had encouraged and worked with Wolf’s Food Security Partnership toward a hunger-free Pennsylvania since the start of his administration. “When the pandemic hit, we were in a better position than many states because of a history of collaboration and state food programs already in place,” DePasquale said, “but COVID showed everyone how fragile the food system really is.”
Named an important policy initiative of Gov. Josh Shapiro, the administration outlines the council’s work: “Tasked with evaluating and advancing solutions to issues facing Pennsylvania’s food system, the council will develop and implement strategies to improve food and nutrition security, public health, environmental sustainability and stewardship, local food economies, and to reduce food waste.
“Food is a basic human right. The Pennsylvania Food Policy Council grows out of the Commonwealth’s ongoing commitment to strengthening our food system. It is also a direct response to calls from food systems leaders across the state to deepen collaboration and impact on critical food systems challenges impacting PA residents, communities, and businesses.
“The council will coordinate interagency and stakeholder group leaders around communication and action needed to support healthy, equitable, sustainable, and fair food systems for all Pennsylvanians. Together, these efforts aim to support food sovereignty, which is defined as the right of Pennsylvania residents to healthy, culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agricultural system.”