Connecticut Food Policy Council Announces Launch of New Website and Action Plan
The Connecticut Food Policy Council is pleased to announce the launch of a new website and action plan to create a more resilient Connecticut food system. The website, ctfoodpolicy.com, is a resource of food policy groups, food systems information and data, food benefits accessibility, and more to link economic development, environmental protection, and preservation with farming and urban issues.
The creation of a website is one of several actions currently being undertaken now that the board is fully appointed and meeting regularly. Prior years saw sporadic attendance and lack of quorums during meetings due to appointment vacancies leading to no actions moving forward.
“Our boards, councils, and commissions are invaluable in driving good policy and providing input to the agency,” said Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt. “The Food Policy Council members each contribute a dynamic voice and opportunity to learn more about the unique communities they serve.”
Established in 1997 by the Connecticut legislature under Public Act 97-11, Section 21, this is the only statewide food policy council in Connecticut and is administratively supported by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. Together with various partners throughout the state, they are charged with developing, coordinating, and implementing a food system policy. It is a collaborative mix of agricultural producers, agricultural organizations, and six state agencies including Agriculture, Administrative Services, Education, Transportation, Public Health, and Social Services.
As the Food Policy Council continues to identify the gaps in the food supply chain to better respond to the needs of Connecticut residents, the council members have developed a spending plan to utilize their annual allocation and draw down the accumulated budget. Included in this is funding for fellows, mini grants for market access, a study on the gaps, risks, and opportunities within the Connecticut Food System, and publication of those findings. The council has also partially funded work being performed by Hartford Food Systems on their food action plan.
Connecticut is home to more than a dozen food policy groups; each addressing different geographic locations and/or segments from consumers, production, and processing to food waste management and distribution. Food insecurity in Connecticut and benefit programs are an aspect of the food system that the council is beginning to develop work on, leveraging the state agency council membership.
According to Feeding America’s 2019 Map a Meal, there are 426,620 food insecure residents in Connecticut, or 11.9% of the population. In 2020, the Department of Social Services administered the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to serve an average of nearly 218,000 households per month, representing 467,764 individual participants and $819,027,405 in total benefits. The Connecticut Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program served 43,777 individuals in 2020 with a total of $36,250,000 on food and the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), in partnership with the USDA, served 41,048 WIC participants and an additional 24,791 income eligible seniors and disabled adults to source fresh, unprocessed Connecticut Grown fruits, vegetables, and honey.
Comments, suggestions, and additions to the Food Policy Council website content are welcome and can be directed to Erin Windham at Erin.Windham@ct.gov or Cyrena Thibodeau at Cyrena.Thibodeau@ct.gov.