• Alaska Food Policy Council releases its 2012-15 strategic plan

The Alaska Food Policy Council recently released its 2012-15 Alaska Food Policy Strategic Plan, which was about a year in development.

This spring, the council will work on action-planning on its top five priority strategies:

  1. Develop, strengthen and expand the school-based programs and policies that educate about and provide healthy, local foods to schools (e.g., Farm to School Program, Agriculture in the Classroom, traditional foods in schools, school gardens).
  2. Strengthen enforcement language in the Local Agricultural and Fisheries Products Preference Statute (AS 36.15.050), also known as the “Seven Percent” statute and Procurement Preference for State Agricultural and Fisheries Products (Sec. 29.71.040).
  3. Advocate and participate in the development of community level and comprehensive statewide emergency food preparedness plan(s).
  4. Develop AFPC’s role as research aggregator and resource.
  5. Identify and support existing local food system leaders, projects, events, and activities that support Alaska’s food system.

“The Alaska Food Policy Council has been working toward this strategic plan since May 2010,” said Diane Peck, MPH, RD, a community and evaluation specialist with the Alaska Obesity Prevention and Control Program who leads the council. “Initial committees worked to identify Alaska’s food system issues and concerns and then the strategic planning group worked to turn those into our goals and strategies. It’s exciting to see such a broad spectrum of food system stakeholders come together to develop a clear and concise plan that will help guide local, regional and statewide food systems planning in Alaska.”

“The Alaska Food Policy Council works to strengthen Alaska’s food systems to spur local economic development, increase food security, and improve nutrition and health,” according to the council’s website. “The council serves as a resource for information on local and state food systems, and works to identify and propose policy and environmental changes that can improve the production, processing, distribution, health, security and safety of our food.”

According to the council’s website, “the long-term goals of the Alaska Food Policy Council are to identify barriers to building a viable Alaska food system, create a strategic plan to address these barriers, and make the necessary recommendations to decision makers to implement this plan. Diverse stakeholders from around the state have been invited to participate, including representatives for commercial farmers, farmers’ markets and CSAs; fisheries and fish processors; distributors; institutional purchasers; private-sector businesses; legislators; consumers; Alaska Native tribal organizations; food security organizations; environmental organizations; and local, state, and federal government agencies.

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The Sitka Local Foods Network is represented on the Alaska Food Policy Council by Lisa Sadleir-Hart, MPH, RD, CHES, ACE, community nutrition department manager for SEARHC Health Promotion and the treasurer of the Sitka Local Foods Network.

“Being involved in the Alaska Food Policy Council has deepened my commitment to making local food a reality in Sitka,” Lisa said. “It’s also made me realize that we are already a community ‘on the map’ when it comes to food issues and creative responses. Sitka is considered to be one of the leading communities in the state, on par with Fairbanks/Ester/Delta Junction and Homer.”

The Alaska Food Policy Council will meet April 4-5 in Anchorage for a face-to-face meeting to action-plan the five priority strategies. People interested in providing feedback on the plan should contact Diane Peck at diane.peck@alaska.gov.

• 2012-15 Alaska Food Policy Council Strategic Plan

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