When I resigned from the Board of Slow Food Chicago I was pretty heartbroken and worried that I was moving to a town where I wouldn't have as strong food advocacy community. Thankfully, Jose Olivia of the Food Chain Workers Alliance immediately made me hopeful when he connected me with several dedicated individuals who were actively laying the tracks to propose and implement Good Food Purchasing Policy values, that have been successfully adopted in several areas of the country, including here in the Twin Cities. The following video does a better job than I can of conveying the rationale and scope for these policies.
This effort is a grassroots one started and supported by individuals who care deeply about changing how food is sourced for major institutions (that's an understatement if there ever was one). A more comprehensive summary on the history of the movement and how the Twin Cities is involved was written in April 2016 by Pete Huff, formerly of the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy.
Since that report, the stakeholders have gained in momentum and number and are moving on to finalize the standards and recruiting institutions to sign onto the policy standards in support. The next legwork comes in the form of fundraising, hiring employees that eventually will lead the adoption of the policies, as well as recruitment and investigation of other organizations to approach about adoption. Since I have no direct experience with distribution or institutional ordering, I'm excited to be a part of this latter step along with general administrative support and organization of the data inevitably gathered along the way.
I believe this offers an opportunity to talk about how (most) anyone can help any organization whose work they admire, even if you aren’t directly experienced with what they need at first glance.
Often times administrative support can be just as useful as the specific expertise that is needed to carry out programming. I would encourage anyone to find and ask those organizations you love how you can help. Explain your skill set and be patient if a place or position for you isn’t immediately available. Keep in contact over time if you really want to help in a meaningful way.
If you are interested in starting the conversation about similar policies in your city, I recommend reaching out to the Center for Good Food Purchasing .