Food Policy Councils (FPCs) are groups that engage stakeholders from across the food system to inform policy, assess their food system, and/or coordinate programs. There are over 20 FPCs in Kansas and more are forming each year. Councils in Kansas generally focus on increasing access to healthy foods though a variety of initiatives such as working to increase SNAP enrollment, increasing access to public transportation, and supporting community gardens. They also work to improve other aspects of their food system, including the local food economy and the emergency food sector. Councils create a space for collaboration, relationship-building, and information sharing across a local food system. For this reason, councils are often the “go to” group when community members or decision-makers need information or resources about their local food system.
The Kansas FPC Project is a state-wide evaluation of FPCs. Supported by the Kansas Health Foundation, the evaluation, led by Dr. Larissa Calancie, includes an annual assessment of organizational capacity within FPCs, interviews with FPC leaders, a social network analysis to assess the development of relationships across councils, and a study of available data related to healthy food access to assess the impact of FPC initiatives in Kansas. The evaluation is designed to assess the effects of the provision of technical assistance by KC Healthy Kids, a non-profit organization located in Kansas City, on councils individually and as a network.