New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee
FPAC is a broad-based coalition of individuals, businesses and organizations shaping public policy to improve equity, opportunity and collaboration in the local food system. This work is done through programming, advocacy and working groups. We currently have 3 working groups with specific priorities related to food policy, as well as assist with FPAC shared priorities. Working Groups meet bi-monthly and are led by FPAC members.
Food Production: Supports local farmers, fishers, ranchers, and other producers
by identifying strategies to expand growing food production, market opportunities and processing infrastructure. Learn more about this working group.
Business Development: identifies strategies to increase access to economic opportunity and support business development and mentorship for marginalized groups. Learn more about this working group.
Food Access: seeks system-level changes in our community, institutions, and schools to make it easier for residents to access healthy food. Learn more about this working group.
To learn more about FPAC's work please read our 2018-2021 Plan for the Future.
In 2007, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures, a group of leaders in the food community convened to discuss and strategize how to get fresh, healthy food into the homes, schools, and workplaces of New Orleanians. The fruit of this collaboration was the 2008 report, Building Healthy Communities: Expanding Access to Fresh Food Retail (https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0B1iNdmoc1xpuTnRtem9yZUhOXzQ), which laid out a set of achievable recommendations to improve access to supermarkets, farmers markets, and other fresh food retail outlets. As a result of this report and work by FPAC members and city officials to implement its recommendations, the City of New Orleans established the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative in 2011. This $14 million loan program is administered by the City of New Orleans, Hope Enterprise Corporation (HOPE) and The Food Trust are partners in administering this citywide program. As of summer 2017, five loans have been granted.
On a state-wide level, the FPAC educated state legislatures about the opportunity to develop a program similar to Pennsylvania’s Fresh Food Financing Initiative. Such a program would provide grants and loans to fresh food retailers across the state that plan to open or expand offerings in under-served areas. LA Senate Resolution 112 (2008) established the State Healthy Food Retail Study Group, which released a report highlighting its findings and outlining recommendations for the development of a Healthy Food Retail Financing Program. Based on this report, LA Act 252 (Senate Bill 299), known as the Healthy Food Retail Act, was passed during the 2009 Legislative Session. The law set up a mechanism for financing at the state level, but the program has not been funded.
In the fall of 2009, the FPAC launched its second major initiative, focused on improving School Food and Child Nutrition. The result was the report “Stepping Up to the Plate: Transforming School Food in New Orleans.” (https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0B1iNdmoc1xpuWUlWUi1nel9IdFE), The FPAC has since worked to help other parts of Louisiana establish food policy groups and organized the first annual Louisiana Food Access Summit in 2012.
In September 2014, Tulane Prevention Research Center sought to reconvene FPAC and held a community meeting at Crescent Park, which attracted more than 40 community members, non-profits, universities, and other partners. From this meeting, a list of policy priorities was identified and then ranked through community engagement at a FitNOLA Forum. FPAC became co-chairs of the FitNOLA Healthy Community Design Sector, helping inform the work around food access.
In 2017, The Tulane PRC received a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to work on increasing healthy eating opportunities for children and families through the FPAC. The grant allowed FPAC to assess the local food policy landscape, develop a strategic plan, and provide education around evidence-based, equitable and sustainable food policy. These activities allowed FPAC to identify and address the policy barriers that exist in the food system and craft a plan to build a stronger New Orleans food system through research, engagement, and education. At this time, FPAC brought on its first staff member, Elisa Munoz, to oversee this work and the work of FPAC.
Currently, FPAC has 3 working groups, which meet bi-monthly to identify food policy issues, establish goals and activities to meet these food policy needs. The working groups fall into 4 categories:
- Food-related business development: identifies strategies to increase access to capital and support development and mentorship for marginalized groups.
- Food access: seeks system-level changes in our community and school settings to make it easier for residents to access healthy food and for community organizations to provide nutrition education.
- Food Production: Supports local farmers and producers by identifying strategies to expand growing opportunities and processing infrastructure.
In addition to working groups, there are multi-sector programs and projects that FPAC leads in order to create systemic and equitable change in the food system. These center around information dissemination, value-chain, and supply-chain coordination, and cross-sector convening and collaboration.