Local Food Council Policy

Food Council Policy

Core Statements, FAQs, and Bylaws

for the Cass County Local Food Policy Council

(as adopted at the December 12, 2016 Council meeting)


Organizational Description

The Cass County Local Food Policy Council is an advisory body appointed by the Board of Supervisors for the purpose of examining the formal and informal food policies of government agencies, public institutions, and private businesses. The Council is charged with gathering information, building networks, and making reports and recommendations to facilitate consistent food policies, promote a vibrant and diverse local agriculture, and foster the health and well-being of Cass County residents. The Council’s members are drawn from diverse constituencies including food producers, processors, distributors, and retailers; nutritionists, healthcare professionals, school staff, government officials, and other citizens.

Values statement

A food system in a community context embodies many values. These values often conflict with each other and require thoughtful balancing. The following is a short list of the values deemed most important.

Value Labels Descriptions
Health At the individual level, the condition of persons being able to be active, productive, and live long lives free of disease, pain, and debilitating conditions. At the county level (public health), maximizing the prevalence of healthy people.
Local Giving people in nearby geographic areas first priority in the anticipated benefits of decisions and activities.
Community Having a strong sense of shared identity, concerns, and interest shaping extensive social networks characterized by cooperative, collaborative, and mutually supporting social relationships that motivate working together both to address problems and issues and to act on opportunities.
Collaboration Working together as community members to realize opportunities and to address conditions deemed to be problems.
Well-being A “state of being happy, healthy, …[and] prosperous” (adapted from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/well%E2%80%93being)
Food system knowledge A condition of having accurate understandings about how food is produced, how it is allocated, how food consumption patterns are associated with health, how food affects the local economy, and other facets. Such understandings are key to intelligent decision-making relating to food.


Vision statement

A future Cass County in which all persons have continuous ready access to healthful food, many local people have opportunities to produce, process, and distribute food, and consistent policies support public health and well-being.

Mission statement

To bring together representatives of diverse constituencies for fostering cohesive policies and collaborative relationships and actions toward the goal of having reliable and resilient food systems that provide both access to healthful, locally-produced food for all and reasonable returns to those who make it possible.

Ground Rules

  1. Willingness to listen and being open to input from those with differing views on topics,
  2. Engage in respectful discussion with the goal of understanding ideas and reasoning.

Strategic Plan Goals (general)

  1. Become better informed about current local food policies.
  2. Increase the consumption of healthful, locally-produced food.
  3. Promote direct sales from local farms and local businesses to consumers and institutions (schools, restaurants, hospitals, caterers and other food related institutions).
  4. Build a strong coalition of local food system stakeholders that enables cooperation in working toward shared goals.
  5. Make recommendations to appropriate bodies informed by good information and effective practices.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why the interest in food policy?

Food Policy is created and implemented by people who participate in institutions in the food system. When you begin to consider a food system as the source of our food, it becomes clear that hundreds of decisions are made about that food before it reaches our plates. Any organization that serves food, such as schools or hospitals, explicitly or implicitly develops and implements rules that constitute food policy. The topics of these policies include what is served (fresh or processed), how and when it is grown (sustainable, organic or conventional, seasonal or preserved) or who grows it (local farmers, operators of small farms, managers of large agribusinesses). Those decisions are shaped both by the regulations promulgated and implemented by numerous government agencies at the national, state, county and municipal levels and by perceived business opportunities. County governments can implement food policies which support elements of the food system, such as local agriculture, restaurants and grocery stores. Thoughtful food policy can enable making the decisions affecting what we eat to be both consistent and promotive of the health of local residents and the viability of local businesses. Thus, local food policy can make a substantial difference in the food eaten by people in a community and their quality of life.

What does the Cass County Food Policy Council do?

The Council plays a coordinating role for food policy within Cass County, relying on the expertise of the public and private stakeholders who make daily decisions which affect the kinds, qualities and quantities of our food. The stakeholders represented on the Council include farmers, food processors and providers (such as locker operators and grocery managers), institutional food service staff, public health personnel, members of community-based organizations and consumers. The Council also seeks to educate these constituents about agriculture and food and the issues involved.


Council Membership: Members shall be appointed by the Cass County Board of Supervisors. The Council will consist of up to nine (9) members chosen for their interest in food-related issues, wisdom, breadth of vision and experience with civic and governmental affairs. The Council as a whole should have a mix of food industry, nutrition and health, consumer and neighborhood advocates and governmental interests. All members shall serve without compensation or remuneration.

Terms: Each Council member shall serve for a term of four (4) years. Terms begin on January 1 of the year of appointment. Council members may be reappointed to additional terms.

Associate Members: The FPC may select non-voting “Associate Members” who may participate fully in the deliberations of the FPC. Associates will be selected because of their special interest in food-related issues and/or professional and organizational connections.

Officers: A Chairperson, Vice-chairperson, and Secretary will be elected by the FPC each year to serve for a one-year term. These people will be the official spokespersons for the FPC and will preside at meetings and carry out the usual functions of those offices.

Nominating Committee: The FPC Chair will appoint from among FPC members, at an appropriate time each year, a four person nominating committee that will have two functions: (1) Developing a slate of officers to serve for the coming year; (2) Developing a list of recommended new members for the FPC as needed.

Special Committees: To address specific issues or to carry out special projects, the Chair may designate special committees selected from among FPC Members and Associate Members and assign appropriate responsibilities to such committees.

External Advisory Committees: From time to time the FPC may utilize advisory committees. These groups will provide access to an additional spectrum of interest, which may not be represented on the Council itself. They may also enable the FPC to tap in to areas of expertise related to subject matter under consideration by the FPC.

Powers and Authority: The FPC is an advisory body. It has no regulatory authority. The FPC’s influence is through coordination, information exchange and networking and advocacy through reports and recommendations.

Administrative Assistance: The FPC may need basic administrative assistance to facilitate its meetings and normal business (such as keeping minutes, sending out meeting announcements, helping with logistics, etc.) It may also be necessary to manage records of FPC proceedings and documents related to its activities. Representatives of the County will work together with the FPC to allocate responsibilities for administrative assistance to be provided by relevant County resources.