Forming a York County Food Policy Council

By Sarah Beth Sisney

July 27, 2021 (York County, SC) Wholespire York County (formerly Eat Smart Move More) leadership team member, Lynn Shanklin Caldwell, discussed the formation of a York County Food Policy Council during our June 8, 2021, general meeting. Ms. Caldwell is a food systems expert who describes herself as “ALL about food for most of my life.” She recently was tasked by Impact York County to form and sustain a local Food Policy Council.

Food Policy Council discussion

There have been many shortcomings within our country’s food system for far too long. Often our food system failings have been seen as independent problems to be solved separately by government and non-government agencies. To address the issues many communities are establishing Food Policy Councils. Food policy is complicated. It involves considering the actions and inactions by government that influence the supply, quality, price, production, distribution, and consumption of food.

Why a Food Policy Council?

Food Policy Councils address the food system as a whole by using the strength of local, county, and state governments behind both grassroots and broader initiatives. Food Policy Councils use a cross-sector approach by engaging with government officials and programs, grassroots/non-profit projects, local businesses, and food workers. Instead of multiple advocates working on isolated issues within a flawed food system, Food Policy Councils are a forum for coordinated local action. They bring people and organizations together to find common ground. This promotes local economic development while making local food systems more accessible, environmentally sustainable, and socially just.

More on the York County Food Policy Council

Ms. Caldwell’s position on York County Food Policy Council is funded by the USDA through the SC DHEC SNAP-Ed. To procure further funding for the organization, Ms. Caldwell will apply for grants. Impact York County will use Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas funding to conduct a food assessment. The community food assessment will help to identify gaps and assets within our current local food system. The members of the York County Food Policy Council and its multi-sector stakeholders will use this information to come up with innovative solutions to identify opportunities within out food system, support existing programs, and educate the community about policies that will make a difference for our future.

Wholespire York County is excited about the creation of the York County Food Policy Council and look forward to the promotion and protection of a healthy agricultural industry in our community and a safe and nutritious food supply for all.

Victory Gardens International initiative

Sarah Beth Sisney is a senior at Winthrop University majoring in Exercise Science. She is currently a community health intern and healthy heart ambassador at the YMCA of Upper Palmetto. She is passionate about physical activity, nutrition, and health education with a keen interest in exercise oncology. Connect with her on LinkedIn!