The Food Policy Council Working Group (FPCWG) focuses on research assessing the work of Food Policy Councils (FPCs), related to increasing access to healthy food and beverage options. FPCs consist of stakeholders from public, private and nonprofit sectors representing a wide array of interests, who advise and support citizens and decision makers in developing policies and programs to improve regional, state, or local food systems.
Key focal areas for the FPCWG include: 1) Developing a measure for FPC impact; 2) Drawing from existing measures to create an organizational readiness assessment of FPCs, 3) Assessing the association between FPC organizational readiness and FPC impact; 4) Using the data to provide feedback to FPCs regarding: organizational readiness, strategies for success re policy formulation and implementation, and approaches to FPC impact evaluation.
Activity 1: Identify stakeholders and build partnerships
The FCPWG hosts conference calls to connect experts with diverse backgrounds in the fields of nutrition, community psychology, and food policy from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States Department of Agriculture, NOPREN collaborating sites, and additional content experts.
Key findings to date:
Activity 2: Review current literature and identify evaluation approaches
We have invited researchers in the field to join our conference calls and reviewed existing reports and manuscripts to identify prior approaches to evaluating FPCs.
Current gaps in the literature include:
Activity 3: Develop a measure of Food Policy Council organizational capacity and impact
We have planned to adapt existing measures of capacity within collaboratives to assess FPCs’ organizational readiness to support institutional change (e.g., policy changes in member organizations, providing food policy recommendations to local government upon request)
Assessment domains include the following:
Kristen Cooksey Stowers, MPP, PhD
Assistant Professor of Health Disparities
Department of Allied Health Sciences
UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity