EAST LANSING, Mich. — Many communities across the country are forming local food councils or food policy councils to grow their local food system and increase access to healthy, locally produced foods. With grant support from the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, Michigan State University Extension and Purdue University Extension are launching a new professional development online course this month.
The Supporting Local Food Councils course is designed for Extension and community development professionals working to build local food councils in their communities. Over 20 experts contributed content to the 15 module online course. Topics include:
- What are food councils?
- Extension’s role with local food councils
- Community food system basics
- Facilitation and leadership
- Learn more about the breadth of roles that Extension and community development professionals can have in food council work
- Conducting a community food assessment
- Organizing and developing a food council
- Funding for food councils
- Evaluating your local food council work
- Public policy and land use planning related to local food systems
- Organizational structures for food councils
- Creating sustainable food councils, regional and/or statewide food council networks
Each module contains video presentations, readings, online tools and a quiz. There is an optional certificate of completion for participants that complete all 15 modules. The course is open to the public at no charge and there is no deadline to complete the course as it is self-paced.
Kendra Wills, a community food systems educator with Michigan State University Extension, and Jodee Ellett, Local Foods Coordinator, coordinated the development of the Supporting Local Food Councils course for Purdue University Extension. Resources from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the USDA, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, and many other local food system organizations are featured in the course.
To learn more about the course, consider watching a free webinar hosted by NCRCRD. Free access to the webinar recording will be available at http://ncrcrd.msu.edu/ncrcrd/chronological_archive by January 18.
— Kendra Wills, Michigan State University Extension
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