Tomatoes

The Madison Food Policy Council typically meets the first Wednesday of each month in the Central Library, Room 302. For any questions relating to the agenda, minutes, or other questions about the Council, please call the Mayor’s Office at (608) 266-4611 for more information.

The Madison Food Policy Council (MFPC) is the main public body that develops and recommends policies to the Mayor and Common Council to support our food system, and endorses efforts to do the same at the national level. The MFPC is comprised of 23 members that represent key areas of the local and regional food system, including representatives of the Madison Metropolitan School District, Dane County Food Council, producers, advocates, and elected officials. The MFPC leads collaboration efforts across many stakeholders and serves as a sounding board and voice for community concerns. The MFPC is currently chaired by Nan Fey.

Mission

To drive policies, programs, and collaborative resources relative to support the development of a sustainable local and regional food system that supports equitable access to healthy, culturally appropriate food, nutrition education, and economic opportunity.

History

Established in October 2012 by Mayor Paul Soglin and the Madison Common Council.

Role / Responsibilities

  1. Make recommendations to the Mayor and Common Council on ordinances, policies, and budgetary items that have an impact on the food system.
  2. Request city staff to develop policies related to the food system based on research, input, and advice from the community.
  3. Solicit input from experts and citizens within the food system and lead discussion on various topics in order to inform policy recommendations.
  4. Set benchmarks for city departments to reach within a certain time frame to evaluate city progress.
  5. Create subcommittees as necessary to facilitate collaboration among stakeholders and to provide further support on policy recommendations.
  6. Review recommendations from the Dane County Food Policy Council and the City of Madison Ad Hoc Local Food Committee.
  7. Create and endorse policies to be considered by national food policy organizations and policymakers, especially through the United States Conference of Mayors Food Policy Taskforce.

Structure

The MFPC conducts the bulk of its policy and program work within the structure of working groups and taskforces. The MFPC currently has four working groups and convenes two taskforces. All taskforces and working groups are open to the public and are designed to meet on a regular basis. Below is a list and links to information and updates to all active work groups and taskforces:

Food Retail Access Work Group

The Food Retail Access work group of the MFPC is comprised of three members: Alder Matt Phair (District 20), Lindsey Day Farnsworth, and Anne Reynolds. There are many neighborhoods in Madison that are faced with a variety of food access challenges. The work group is responsible for developing strategies and priorities for the Mayor and Common Council that respond to the uniqueness of the issue in each neighborhood.

During 2014, the group successfully established the Healthy Food Retail fund. Based on the work group’s request, Mayor Soglin proposed the fund in the 2015 Capital Budget, and was adopted by the Common Council. The fund contains $100,000 in 2015 for healthy retail projects and the work group is currently developing criteria and process for the fund. More details will be posted here in Spring/Summer 2015.

The group also oversaw the development of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for $300,000 in city funding to attract a grocery store to the Allied Drive neighborhood, an area of the city that does not have adequate access to a full-service, affordable grocery store. The work group will assist in reviewing the proposals in Summer 2015.

Lettuce

Funding Work Group

The Funding work group of the MFPC is comprised of three members: Alder Shiva Bidar-Sielaff (District 5), Topf Wells, and Martin Bailkey. In 2013, the work group created the SEED Grant Program (link) that offers micro-grants to food access improvement projects or programs. Each year the group develops criteria for the grant, reviews and evaluates applications and makes recommendations on awardees.

Edible Landscapes and Terrace Plantings Work Group

The edible landscape and terrace plantings work group is comprised of five members of the MFPC: Alder Ledell Zellers (District 2), Satya Rhodes-Conway, Martin Bailkey, Nathan Clarke, and Nan Fey. The group was created by the MFPC to get to work on new ordinances to allow edible landscapes on city-owned land and plantings on street terraces.

In 2013, the Common Council adopted ordinances to do just that.