Policy. Advocacy. Change.

Update! WNC Food Justice Planning Initiative

Since January 2020, the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council (ABFPC) has been participating in the WNC Food Justice Planning Initiative (FJPI). This project is an opportunity for over three dozen stakeholder organizations from across our 18 county region and the Qualla Boundary to come together to think through the possibilities and create tangible action steps for collectively improving our food system. The work of Year 1 resulted in:

  • Identifying priorities, a common vision, priority groups, and goals through group consensus
  • Completion of over 40 Key Informant interviews and significant analysis around interview data and local statistics of what is being done across the country
  • A final report detailing the process (finalized date TBD)
  • Working toward identifying a program or organization that can serve as a vehicle for the work going forward
  • Submitting multiple LOIs and completed grants and receiving over $100,000 in funding (to date) for collaborative work in Year 2
  • Developing a Regional Strategic Action Plan driven by the action plans of the six determined Strategy Areas (Cooking and Nutrition Education, Community Gardens, Food Waste Solutions, Healthy Food Distribution, Regional Ag Network/s, Regional Food Council)

The ABFPC is participating in the Strategy Area that is developing a Regional Food Council. The WNC Regional Food Council is intended to act as a vehicle for driving the implementation of the WNC Food Justice Action Plan and to sustain that work well into the future. The Council will also serve as a connector and support system for existing local food councils and other small networks working toward a stronger food system and food security.  So far, a small group of stakeholders has participated in a preliminary action planning process for the initial development of the Food Council. The group is extending an invite to all stakeholders who have been identified so far to participate as a member of the Council. The kickoff meeting will be held in late April/early May, at which point a collective vision and goals will be determined and a regular meeting schedule will be set. 

The Council welcomes stakeholders from across sectors, including those working in the food system, economic development, local government, education, health & human services, faith-based organizations, etc. If you are interested in participating or learning more, please reach out to Abby Holmes at [email protected] or Kelli Buckner at [email protected].

Work in Year 2, with the help of a new Leadership Team, will be focused on securing collective funding for all groups involved, working toward completion of the Regional Strategic Action Plan, and hiring a Project Coordinator to direct and organize this important work.

If you’re interested in getting involved in any of the six Strategy Areas, reach out to the leads using the contact information below.

Cooking and Nutrition Education – Cathy Hohenstein [email protected]
Community Gardens – Nicole Hinebaugh [email protected] and Jess Prax [email protected]
Food Waste Solutions – Cathy Cleary [email protected]
Healthy Food Distribution – Glenn Wise [email protected]
Regional Ag Network/s – Zev Freidman [email protected] , Laura Lauffer [email protected], and Cameron Farlow [email protected]
Regional Food Council – Keli Buckner [email protected]mbecounty.org and Abby Holmes [email protected]

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