For Food Charter Champions across Minnesota, 2014 was a year marking an important step forward. For three years, leaders from many sectors, interests, and communities, worked together to engage the public and produce the Minnesota Food Charter and Schools Leader Guide. These two documents offer proven and specific policy and systems change strategies identified by thousands of people across the state that will create healthier food environments, strengthen our food skills, and build a robust healthy food infrastructure. By implementing the strategies described in the Food Charter, we can create healthier, more prosperous communities.
Now that we have launched the Food Charter together, you might be wondering: What’s ahead in 2015 and beyond? Groups across Minnesota are hosting Food Charter Launch Events, using a toolkit available through the Minnesota Food Charter website. This toolkit provides everything you need to host a successful event that informs people about the Food Charter and provides a way for you, your friends, and your colleagues to identify policy and systems change strategies that you can implement to create a healthy food future for all.
This year, groups of Food Charter Champions will roll up their sleeves and get to work. Some champions are already implementing strategies, others are building partnerships and obtaining resources to do so. For example:
- In December 2014, the Metro Food Access Network (composed of over 65 Twin Cities organizations working on healthy food access issues) identified the strategies they’ll work on together in 2015.
- Partners from economic development and community finance organizations, along with funders and state agencies, will work together to identify ways to develop robust financing and technical assistance services for food and farm-related businesses.
- Food policy councils across the state will select Food Charter strategies to implement in their communities and regions
- Many organizations and partnerships are evaluating which Food Charter strategies make the most sense and building them into their workplans.
In the months ahead, we’ll share with you specific stories of Food Charter Champions working together to create a healthy food future for all, by implementing Food Charter strategies. You’ll learn how all of this work that we’re doing together—across the food system, across sectors, and at all scales—are making the change happen that all of us identified, together!
As the Chair of the Minnesota Food Charter Steering Committee, I want to encourage you to visit the Food Charter website and share the strategies you will undertake as a Food Charter Champion. We would love to share your successes and hard work with the thousands of people engaged in the Food Charter.