The new Florida Food Policy Council (FFPC) is working to support the state’s burgeoning local-food movement, as well as efforts to develop more sustainable, and fair, food systems.

FFPC is a statewide effort that will provide leadership to encourage the development and expansion of Florida’s local food network and help to meet food security needs in communities across the state.

On Sunday, April 3, FFPC will host its inaugural membership meeting at the Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport.

That meeting follows the UF/IFAS Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference, taking place April 1-2. Keynote speakers for that event are Gabriele Marewski of Paradise Farms, Homestead; Karen Dakin of Dakin Dairy Farms, Myakka City; and Michael Greenwell of 31 Produce, Alva.

 Sharon Yeago, a member of FFPC’s steering committee and its events subcommittee, says, “We encourage everyone along the food chain – from farmer to consumer – to join us in identifying the next steps in supporting sustainable production, distribution, and consumption of healthy fresh food in Florida.”

The Florida Food Policy Council has representatives from South, Central and North Florida. The council will use a variety of methods, including legislation, education, and action committees, to achieve its goals.

There is strength in numbers, Yeago explains: “Florida has a vibrant local-food movement. We need a collective voice to speak out about food policy.”

Membership in the Florida Food Policy Council costs $25, which includes admission to events. It is open to anyone. For more information, visit