Greetings, After further discussion and reflection, I want to emphasise the opportunity that the Food Congress represents for the formation of working Food Policy Councils in each county or cluster of counties in Northeast Ohio. I have been wrestling with some of the obscure nature of the Congress, "interactions across discliplines and socio-economic stations afrom all areas of the region", etc.
My current thinking/propossal is for the Congress to use the workshops on saturday to focus on the creation and effectiveness of local food policy councils. They are identified as one of five outcomes, but I think that they could be the most tangible of any. Food Policy Councils are well recognized to work, and to provide that on going forum to bring change to the groundlevel that reflects the needs of the local community.
It seems that each county or cluster of counties could explore the issues identified by the Open Space sessioins, and bring their own particular focus to those Open Space topics. The Councils will provide contacts and networking for on going work in the region. They provides an outlet for the work being done at the Cuyahoga County Coalition, as well as the other foodshed and coucils around the State - Cincinatti, Columbus and the Statewide Food Policy Council now convening, to engage local leaders and share experiences.
One of the most interesting things about the Cleveland Cuyahoga Food Policy Coalition has been the porous nature of the meetings, that form around a dedicated core. It seems that Jennifer Scofield's championing the concept and the dedication of some funding for Matt to focus on the group, was key to the early success of the effort. Another piece to be explored would be the local champion, and the paid organizer who can dedicate some time and energy to the early months.
So, that is my latest Ah Ha. May not be to great for many, but for me the formation of food policy Councils in and around the region - using the Congress format as the regionwide collaborative, provide the tangible structures that can wrestle with the issues identified in the Open Space sessions.
The challenge will be for the workshops to be organized in some building block way, to help people get the information they need to make it through the initial learning curve.