Download our Advocacy Guide here.
What is Food Policy?
Who Governs What?
How to Engage?
Telling Your Story and Getting Your Voice Heard
Making Public Comment
What is Food Policy?
Food Policy is any policy that impacts the growing, processing, distributing, selling, and consuming of food.
Nutrition Entitlement Programs
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/”Food Stamps”)
Women, Infant, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC)
National Hunger Programs
Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act (CNR)
After school feeding programs
Free school lunch
Agricultural and Food Safety Regulations
Livestock (such as bees and chickens)
Food Policy is also the systemic policies that impact our food system, big and small. They each have their own sets of policies that impact our food system in large ways.
Institutions (hospitals, universities, etc.)
Distributors (deliveries, insurance)
Retailers (large grocers, farmers markets)
WHO GOVERNS WHAT?
National USDA nutrition and funding
State Procurement and free/reduced lunch waivers
Local/Municipal Procurement and individual buys
Farming and Agriculture
National Food safety, commodity, funding for programming
State food safety, land use
Local/Municipal Zoning, retail, land use (unless public lands)
SNAP rules and regulations
WIC rules and regulations
Child Nutrition Programming
Summer feeding programs
After school meals
SNAP and WIC (administered and programmed)
Support for national programming
Funding for food access programming
Retail incentives for healthy food
Zoning for food access (retailers, growers, restaurants, fast food, etc.)
HOW TO ENGAGE
Get the Facts
What is the problem?
Who is “in charge”?
National. State, or Local/Municipal policymakers?
What are you asking for?
Find out which policies affect it and give concrete ideas for how they can help. Have your “ask” ready.
What are others doing?
Are there other people advocating for the same issue?
Connect with them if so. Having many voices has a bigger impact, just be sure not to lose your story impact inside the group. Your story is important.
HOW TO TELL YOUR STORY AND GET YOUR VOICE HEARD
Tell Your Story
Why is this important to you?
How will it help the constituency?
What will get their attention in relation to what you need?
Remember, government officials are there to help you. They are not the experts on your farm/business/community, you are! They are people just like you!
Get Your Voice Heard
Find out which ways of advocacy and engagement will have the greatest impact.
Are public comments accepted? (Many national rules and policy changes will have a public comment period on their website. See below for our guide to making the most impactful public comment.
Are emails and letters accepted?
Is there a public hearing or input session?
Call your policy maker.
Find your elected officials at usa.gov/elected-officials
Make an appointment to visit local offices.
State and National government officials usually have regional offices.
Finding an aide or staffer that is interested in the same issue can help get it to the right person quicker.
Pay attention to breaks, they are meant to be a time when officials meet with constituents.
MAKING PUBLIC COMMENT
Many times you will have the opportunity to make a public comment on a website or via email. In these instances, each unique comment must be read by policymakers and recorded.. You comment will be on public record, so make sure it is something you feel comfortable with being made public. Be sure to comment in the correct place and in the time given.
Make your comment count! Be sure to include your personal impact story including specific facts and details.
Each comment must be unique. Using pre-written comments by experts are a great way to get started, but be sure that at least 30% of your comment is original and from your own voice.
Sign on letters as an organization are still only counted as 1 comment. These are great ways to get the attention of lawmakers but they are still considered a single comment no matter how many organizations or individuals sign.
Get talking points from experts. (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Food Research Action Center, Union of Concerned Scientists, Feeding America, New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee, National Young Farmers Coalition)
Advocating for sound food policy can be intimidating, but it is so important. This guide will help you better advocate for the important policies you want to impact.
Emails and call- make sure you give them your zip code so it counts. Be specific. Calls are better. Find out who to call.
Our work is made possible by the generous support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.