The Billings Area Food Policy Council (BAFPC) is a joint working group that brings together a diverse range of stakeholders (non-profit organizations, the City of Billings, food service personnel, healthcare providers, grocers, citizens, producers, etc.) to discuss and take action on issues surrounding food in the Billings area, from production to policies to accessibility.
What is a Food Policy Council?
A Food Policy Council brings together a diverse range of stakeholders (producers, food retailers, chefs, healthcare providers, service providers, policymakers, citizens, etc.) to discuss issues surrounding food including production, policies, and accessibility. Many Food Policy Councils evaluate what local food issues exist in order to identify gaps and determine the best means to attain a greater level of food security in their area of focus, whether at a state, regional, or city level.
About the Billings Area Food Policy Council:
Since the fall of 2010, a Billings Area Food Policy Council (BAFPC) has been meeting monthly to collectively address issues relating to food security in Billings and neighboring communities. The BAFPC has created a novel network resulting in greater communication and coordination between stakeholders at a grassroots level to increase overall access to food in the community, while promoting local food production (with an emphasis on organic growing methods). The BAFPC is committed to empowering the greater Billings area to enact change to increase access to and availability of sufficient, safe, affordable, and nutritious foods to all people at all times.
To date, the BAFPC has compiled and reviewed all available data regarding issues of food security; created a brochure detailing food access resources available; and created an interactive map highlighting locations of food deserts (neighborhoods with accessibility barriers to fresh foods) in Billings.
These resources can be found on the Council’s website (http://mt-billings.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=1701).
What’s New with the BAFPC:
BAFPC’s first community-wide event planned was in conjunction with the first National Food Day (http://www.foodday.org) called “Fresh Thoughts on Food in the Magic City.” The primary goal of this forum was to raise awareness about many of the food issues within Yellowstone County that have discussed at lengths by the BAFPC, including promoting healthy eating, promoting local food production, increasing access to fresh foods, addressing hunger needs, and improving overall food security.
BAFPC’s Partner Organizations Include: Billings BackPack Meals Program, City/County Planning, City of Billings Community Development Division, Family Services, Inc., Gardens from Garbage, Montana FoodSecurity Council, Nutrition for the Future, Saint Andrew Community Garden, The Salvation Army, Sodexo, RiverStone Health, Yellowstone County Council on Aging, Yellowstone County Extension
For more information, please visit:
Hanna Noel, Agricultural & University Outreach Coordinator, The Salvation Army
Jill Bunge, Agricultural & University Outreach Coordinator, The Salvation Army