Food Policy Council Director and Other Program Leads Presented at the UC Digital Futures Building
The 2022 Green Umbrella Annual Meeting and Celebration on December 9, 2022, was an opportunity to bring Green Umbrella staff, network members, stakeholders, sponsors, and newly involved citizens together in one room after two years of virtual meeting spaces. The event was held at the University of Cincinnati's new Digital Futures Building, which also now hosts Green Umbrella's offices. The program featured networking over drinks and bites, live music, and living floral décor. Once everyone had the chance to meet-and-greet, the Green Umbrella program leads presented the highlights of their work from 2022.
Watch the recording of the full event:
After Green Umbrella's Executive Director, Ryan Mooney-Bullock, introduced the Board and the work Green Umbrella does overall, the Director of the Food Policy Council, Maddie Chera, presented.
Maddie started out with strategic and capacity developments:
“One significant change this year has been in our staff, with me stepping into the leadership role, and several other talented team members joining to build on the work of those who served before us. We seized this transitional season in 2022 by creating a new strategic plan. Through collaborative input sessions, stakeholder interviews, and expansive research, we charted a course for the coming years.”
Maddie went on to introduce the restructuring of the Food Policy Council advocacy framework, which now aligns with the Ohio Food Policy Network. These four priority areas will guide the relaunch of Food Policy Council membership in 2023:
Farm & Land Use
Access & Education
The four categories will name the Committees that council members and network members can participate in for our 2023 cohort.
During the presentation, Maddie also highlighted some of the work done in 2022 under the four categories.
Farms and Land Use
The Food Policy Council put on their advocacy hat to support agricultural policies at the federal level. We went to Washington, D.C., to advocate for local and regional food systems support with the Food Systems Leadership Network and National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Some of the ongoing advocacy includes the upcoming Farm Bill in 2023, and, as Maddie said in her presentation, “Look out for more information about how we can advocate powerfully together around this high-impact national legislation!”
Infrastructure + Access and Education
The Food Policy Council worked and will continue to work on supporting partners in streamlining the use of incentives and benefits like Produce Perks and SNAP-EBT at local food outlets like farmers' markets. This a major step within our priority areas of infrastructure and access and education. This work supports the effort for all residents to conveniently access fresh, healthy food.
Another of 2022's big wins was through our Local Menu Takeover promotion during October, which is National Farm to School Month. The Food Policy Council supported schools in feeding kids about 12,000 servings of fresh, delicious food from local farms in a single week!
Maddie introduced Cynthia Walters to present the highlights of her work for CPS Outside and the Food Policy Council's Farm to School work. Cynthia is the Green Schoolyards Coordinator for Green Umbrella and also serves as the Food Policy Council's Agricultural Education Curriculum Coordinator, so Cynthia and Maddie facilitate school-focused collaboration across programs within Green Umbrella.
As part of our Farm to School work, we hosted a workshop for educators and school foodservice staff in the region focused on turning the classroom inside out to connect a resilient food system with local school districts. This workshop was a building block for the Farm to School Curriculum Guide. The Guide will include resources for educators and school foodservice staff that is specific to our ten-county region. The Guide will live on our website and will be updated at regular intervals. The guide is due out in early 2023, so keep an eye out for it!
See the slides included below to read through the presentations by Maddie and Cynthia:
And get excited for all we will do together in 2023!