The first step in the seed phase of food council development is to form an organizing group. The organizing group starts with only a few people. It’s function is to see what other community members think about a food council.
Why form an Organizing Group?
Food councils are intended to bring people from across the whole food system together. Including key partners during the seed phase starts bringing people together from the very beginning.
Practically speaking, the results that come from a few people working together will be better than what an individual can do. Having access to other’s contacts and resources will make the work of the seed phase easier.
What does the Organizing Group do?
During the seed phase, the organizing group invites key stakeholders in the community to learn about food councils. Typically this involves engaging local government leaders and hosting a public meeting.
Once community interest in garnered, the organizing group expands to include more stakeholders. This expanded group, or task force, begins the start-up phase tasks to form a council.
Who should be in the Organizing Group?
The organizing group is typically 3-5 people. Members should have different roles in the food system – with as much difference between their roles as possible.
Because the group needs to engage potential supporters or detractors of a food council, organizing members need to have diverse connections to food system stakeholders. Additionally, a council typically needs to interact with local government leaders. Including members with connections to local government in the early stages of council development can help make this task easier.
Here are some helpful tools and resources for getting up to speed on food councils
- Community Food Councils – Webinar
- Introduction to Food Councils – Handout
- Food System Stakeholders – Handout
- Voices to Engage – Handout