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Organizing Group vs. Food Council

Seedlings on Windowsill

During the seed and start-up phases, a small group of people create the conditions for a food council to come into being.  This takes approximately 12-18 months.

At the end of the start-up phase, the organizing group transitions their work to the first council.  The council builds upon and refines the work already done by the organizing group.

When the organizing group first comes together, there can be confusion between their role and the role of the eventual council.  Some of the members of the organizing group will likely end up on the council, which creates further confusion.

Organizing Group Food Council
Temporary, ad hoc groupCreated at beginning of seed phase with 2-5 members
Expanded at end of seed phase to 5-15 members
Disbands at end of start-up phase

Gets educated on food councils

Develops rough description of council purpose

Lays groundwork for local government involvement

Identifies likely resource needs for council

Designs rough scaffolding for council structure

Drafts charter and incorporates community feedback

Secures formal recognition

Develops temporary selection process;
Recruits initial council members

Shares what it has learned with new council


Permanent, standingCreated at end of start-up phase
Expanded during expansion phase
Does not disband

First learns from organizing group, then educates its members over time

Refines purpose into vision, mission, values, name

Develops working agreements based on local government’s role

Creates support systems to meet resource needs

Refines council structure based on charter

Documents governance

Formally updates local government on state of food system

Develops membership selection process;
Recruits new members as needed

Picks up where organizing group left off