Flint & Genesee Food Policy Council
Flint and Genesee County residents have historically experienced poor health outcomes and a heavy reliance on the emergency food system, which doesn’t address the root causes of these disparities. Innovations within the region’s food system could improve access to nutritious food, but until now there’s been little coordination food systems leaders, community partners, and residents to identify and leverage these opportunities.
The Flint & Genesee Food Policy Council was formed to coordinate and strengthen the region’s food system, pursue policy solutions, and address social determinants of health. Early in its development, the Council is focusing on supporting farmer development. Increasing producers in the region could increase the supply of locally grown foods and improve food access.
- The formation of the Flint and Genesee Food Policy Council means Flint and Genesee County will have a stable and recognized group of people working together to identify and advance an equitable food system through policy, systems, and built environment changes.
The Flint Leverage Points Project (FLPP), a multiyear research initiative focused on the Flint food system, identified a need for stronger coordination among those working on food-related issues in the region. Their research also identified the key areas or “leverage points” that could have the maximum impact, such as food production, transportation solutions, retail options and quality, and school meals.
With Health Fund support, Crim Fitness Foundation and a long list of partners came together to establish the Flint & Genesee Food Policy Council (FGFPC). Their mission: to develop a resilient and reliable local food system rooted in community engagement, collaboration and education. FGFPC is in the early stages of development but has made tremendous progress and is gaining momentum in the community. The council has already executed a few projects that have not only helped to address issues of food access but have also given participating leaders experience working as a team toward common goals.
As FGFPC continues to develop, they’ll work to improve community engagement and resident representation. Currently, a resident serves as co-chair of the council, but overall resident participation has been limited. Resident engagement is an integral part of FGFPC’s strategy, and through this grant residents are being compensated for their time and participation.
The success of the group to date has been largely due to dynamic partnerships among local leaders and agencies as well as statewide organizations. For example, the FGFPC has received great support from the Michigan Local Food Council Network through their learning cohorts and other technical assistance opportunities. And FGFPC has worked collaboratively with the FLPP research team, providing strategic direction and technical assistance; FGFPC will house FLPP’s findings when the project concludes in the spring of 2023. The long list of partners on this project demonstrates buy-in from a wide range of groups—and this collaboration will be critical to FGFPC’s sustainability and effectiveness.
Crim Fitness Foundation
Flint Fresh Food Hub, MSU Extension, City of Flint, Community Foundation of Greater Flint, MSU College of Public Health, Greater Flint Health Coalition, Flint Eats, Asbury United Methodist Church, Flint Innovative Solutions, Genesee Intermediate School District, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, resident stakeholders, Flint Leverage Points Project, Michigan Local Food Council Network
Health Fund Investment