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A Statement of Commitment from the DCFPC:

 

The Douglas County Food Policy Council (DCFPC) seeks to identify the benefits, challenges and opportunities for a successful, sustainable local food system in Douglas County, Kansas.

In 2017, we drove the design and adoption of the comprehensive Douglas County Food System Plan to guide the creation of a local food system that promotes health, economic vitality, sustainability, and equity. The plan itself is founded on principles of inclusion, drawing from the experiences and perspectives of residents from diverse cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds through nearly a year of public engagement, which deliberately sought the voices of traditionally underrepresented and unreached members of the community.

One of the five multi-layered goals outlined in the Food System Plan is devoted to creating “a community that fosters an equitable food system,” in which equity means “all residents can participate fully and access healthy food, regardless of socioeconomic status, geography, race, ethnicity, gender, or immigration status.” Still another of the five goals focuses on the availability of nutritious foods. Present and historic institutional attitudes and practices of systemic racism and classism have subjected many of our neighbors to inequitable health outcomes, several of which stem from disparities within the food system.

Since the Plan’s adoption we have dedicated a working group to implementing the objectives and policy points within these two goals; however, we recognize that as an advisory body we have not adequately targeted the root cause of these needs in our community. We cannot achieve an equitable food system in Douglas County if we do not address the underlying injustices in our community.

In the wake of even more violence against Black, Indigenous, and communities of color in our country and the systemic racial health and access disparities exacerbated by COVID-19, we commit to renewing and elevating the equitable intentions the Food System Plan was founded on, and to work as an ally in our community to eradicate structural injustice, particularly as it impacts the health and quality of life of people of color within our local food system.

As to our initial actions, we commit to the following:

  • In acknowledgement that as a predominantly white board we need to build our knowledge and awareness of equity principles and approaches, we will pursue equity and racial justice training for our Council members;
  • We will examine our current and future work through the application of a racial equity toolkit, such as that provided by the Government Alliance on Race & Equity; and
  • In recognition that addressing food insecurity is much more than alleviating the absence of food, we will explore the underlying contributing factors, including, but not limited to, race, class, poverty, education, and relationships with criminal justice, and seek policy change to treat the cause more than the effect. 

Our commitment and learning will be an ongoing and evolving process. Our actionable priorities to remove racial barriers to food equity will grow as we implement our renewed intent to examine our work. If there are additional racial equity strategies we should elevate, or if you or your organization would like to engage in the work of the Food System Plan toward the shared goals of a just, healthy, and viable food system in Douglas County, please contact us at dcfpc@douglascountyks.org or 785-832-5157.