Businesses and nonprofits can only address the food issues we want to fix if we have the right policies in place.
One of my mentors once described policy as "the Cinnabon Effect," referring to the fact that grumpy holiday mall shoppers, elbowing their way through vicious Black Friday crowds, are always more polite and uplifted when wading through the sweet, buttery aroma of a nearby Cinnabon store. The policy environment we exist in has a huge impact on the quality of our lives. So much so, that even with all the right businesses and programs, problems will persist without the intervention of policy.
The Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council SFPC is a group of food professionals and community members from around Denver who are passionate about creating the a policy environment in which our local food system can thrive. The SFPC functions by researching and writing policy concepts, and then recommending them to the Mayor of Denver for implementation.
The SFPC has been around since 2011, and since that time has been successful at recommending or implementing policies allowing food producing animals, front-yard sales of homegrown food, healthier corner stores, and many more.
The SFPC was highly involved in the creation of the Denver Food Vision, a comprehensive, high level description of an ideal food system, as defined by thousands of Denver residents and businesses. The Vision outlines four broad pillars, as well as concrete, winnable goals.
Now that we know where are we and our food system are going by 2030, the question remains of how we intend to pull it off. To answer that question, our partners at the City of Denver created a slightly lower altitude description of how we will reach our 2030 goals, in five year increments, called the Denver Food Action Plan. Here's a video that describes a bit about it (starting at 3:20).
I have been a member of the SFPC since 2015. In that time I've been lucky to work on policies that streamline the licensing process for mobile food vendors, incentivize more composting and less landfilling, encourage food donation, and more.