This toolkit was developed by Community Food Strategies, a multi-organizational team of food systems experts that provides leadership and technical support for food councils and community groups throughout the Carolinas. Community Food Strategies partners with local groups with the goal of working to together to build more sustainable, resilient, and equitable food systems.
This toolkit is meant to support food councils and community groups in being thoughtful and strategic when engaging in advocacy efforts.
We believe that each of the four steps outlined in this toolkit can happen regularly as ongoing food council activities. Typically, most food councils do not identify and prioritize advocacy actions until after the group has worked through Seed and Start-Up phases to formally establish their group. Strategic networking, however, is particularly important to fledgling food councils to make new relationships, to find out about opportunities for collaboration and policy improvement, and to begin to learn the political landscape. Ultimately, going through these four steps will assist in the overall development of your food council and will support your group and its members in becoming advocacy experts.
Funding for this toolkit and advocacy support services was primarily provided by a grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation of North Carolina. Additional toolkit support was provided by the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Professional Development Program, grant #ES13-119, Moving the NC Local Food System Toward Sustainability: A Comprehensive Graduate course in Local Food Systems for Cooperative Extension Agents, Specialists, and other Educators.