Chatham Community Food Council Accepting Applications for New Members
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The Chatham Community Food Council is looking for new members to fill its open seats. The council, founded in 2014, is a volunteer-based body of community members who meet monthly to create and implement strategies for improving Chatham’s food system. A food system refers to all aspects of buying, selling, and eating food, including production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste.
In the last five years, at least 24 counties in North Carolina have formed food councils, which are partnership organizations aimed at bringing together key people involved in local food economies to improve community and regional food systems. Local food systems include an array of important components, such as community gardens, farmers’ markets, produce stands, restaurants, grocery stores, farm-school partnerships, transportation, and affordability of foods.
The Chatham Community Food Council’s work centers around improving health and food access, strengthening the economy, supporting farmers, and creating a thriving and environmentally sustainable community. In a series of strategic planning meetings that began in April of this year, the food council identified three priorities that the current members would like to focus on in the next two years. These priorities include:
- Increasing the percentage of farms moving towards financial viability by recommending policies, programs, and resources based on farmers’ identified needs.
- Increasing the percentage of municipalities with supportive food and farm policies by being involved in the planning process.
- Engaging with diverse communities in Chatham County, focusing on creating a council that accurately and equitably represents the demographics of the community.
Potential new members should apply online or can email the food council to request a hard copy of the application. Print copies are also available at Country Farm and Home at 101 S. Small St. in Pittsboro. Members are expected to serve a two-year term and to attend monthly meetings.
Council members currently representing organic farming, Chatham County Government, Cooperative Extension, small businesses, and nonprofits all work to make the food system more fair, efficient, sustainable, and local. However, the council desires to represent all who are impacted by the food system, including consumers, restaurant owners, distributors, waste management, conventional farmers, and more. The council also recognizes that not all areas of the county are represented by its current members and wants to fill these gaps. Community members from western Chatham are especially encouraged to apply.
Other opportunities to be involved are available through participation on committees of the Food Council. For more information about committees, email the council at the email address below.
The council seeks to have a diversity of voices at the table and encourages community members of all genders, racial backgrounds, economic statuses, religious backgrounds, sexual orientations, educational backgrounds, and ages to apply.
Applications are due by August 22nd, 2017.