The City of Madison is located at the center of one of the richest agricultural regions in the world. From the United States’ largest producer-only farmers’ market, to the network of over 50 community gardens, to the hundreds of restaurants and grocery stores featuring sustainable, local, and healthy fare, Madison is one of the leaders of this country’s “farm-to-fork” movement.
We know, however, that not everyone enjoys the same opportunity to participate in the food economy. The City of Madison is committed to the development of a local and regional food system that supports equitable access to healthy, culturally appropriate food, nutrition education, and economic opportunity for all of its citizens.
The City of Madison supports collaboration, education, community empowerment, planning, policy, and investment that is devoted to a fair, equitable, and just local food system through the leadership of the Mayor; the Director of Food Policy, George Reistad; and, the Madison Food Policy Council. We believe that this work is a critical component in addressing our goals to reduce poverty and racial disparities.
The City of Madison is also a leader in advocating for national food policy. Mayor Paul Soglin is the Chairperson of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) Food Policy Taskforce. The USCM Food Policy Taskforce, created in 2012, is currently comprised of mayors representing 15-20 cities across the country such as Baltimore, Madison, Philadelphia, Louisville, Providence, Boston, NYC, Washington, D.C., Denver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Lexington, Salt Lake City, Chicago, and Hartford.
Mayors involved in the USCM Food Policy Taskforce prioritized the following topic areas: healthy food retail and food access, school food, urban agriculture and local foods, and local food as an economic driver to create jobs and grow economies. The taskforce frequently meets with Federal departments and sets policy to be adopted by the full USCM membership that supports the above goals.
The taskforce also supports a network of food policy directors that convenes a monthly phone call with federal departments and offers technical assistance to cities that are creating new positions across the country.