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Georgia Food Policy Council hosts state meeting in Macon

On June 20, the Georgia Food Policy Council (GFPC) will host its statewide meeting in Macon, Ga., to reinvigorate the conversation around food policy in the state. The Georgia Health Policy Center, in Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, is currently coordinating the Georgia Food Policy Council.  

“Our food policy council is an opportunity to help us address the paradox of hunger and obesity in the state,” says Debra Kibbe, the GHPC senior research associate who is spearheading the effort. “Georgia has about 10 million acres of farmland; food and agriculture is a massive industry for us.”

First launched in 2010, the GFPC examines food and nutrition concerns at the state level. The council comprises representatives from all sectors of Georgia’s food system, including production, consumption, processing, distribution, waste management, recycling and sustainability. The GFPC has three work groups: Production & Distribution; Food Processing, Waste, Composting & Recycling; and Consumption & Consumer Education.

In early 2012, the center was awarded a grant from the Georgia Department of Public Health to facilitate the GFPC and assist with goals related to membership, meetings, and strategic planning. The GFPC website, activities, and meetings are made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“The Georgia Health Policy Center has a long history of creating the right environment to have important conversations supported by the best possible evidence.  This approach is particularly appropriate for thinking about Georgia's food policy future," says the center’s director, Karen Minyard.

The statewide meeting will be preceded by the Central Georgia Region Meeting on June 19 in Macon. At the central regional meeting, the last of four such gatherings convened prior to the state conference, representatives will work to identify food policy priorities for the region. The meeting will also include remarks from Mark Winne of the national Community Food Security Coalition and a reception featuring “Georgia Grown” produce and products.

Kibbe says that the meetings will explore a range of themes in food and nutrition policy, including consumer education, food access and insecurity, waste management and regional concerns.

“The main goal of the conference on June 20 is to get all of the stakeholders in the room to identify and agree upon the top three or five state-level food policy or nutrition issues they’d like to see addressed in the next three years,” Kibbe says.

Another goal of the conference is to recruit new members, from both the public and private sectors, to the GFPC. Council membership is free and open to all individuals and organizations involved in Georgia’s food and nutrition sectors.

The conference is being presented by the GFPC, Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Health Policy Center, Live Healthy Baldwin, and Community Health Works.

To learn more about the meetings on June 19 and 20 and the GFPC, visit www.gsu.edu/ghpc.