Arkansas Food Policy Council
The Arkansas Food Policy Council is a group of stakeholders from diverse food- and health-related sectors that examine the state food system and determine how to improve it. The Council coordinates food issues normally addressed by various agencies, providing continuity and identifying ways to address interconnected issues and improve the food system. The Council’s main purposes are to: 1) ensure that local schools, government agencies, and community organizations support local farmers by purchasing their product, 2) that under-served, limited-resource populations have easy access to healthy foods obtained from local farmers, and 3) that farming methods used are environment-friendly.
The Council has published an educational brochure on shopping farmer’s markets, in an effort to support farmers and encourage the public to eat healthier.The Arkansas Food Policy Council meets bi-monthly and is administered by Winrock’s US Programs.
Access to Healthy Foods Team
The Access to Healthy Foods Team (AHFT), provides technical assistance to communities, and undertakes projects that assist Arkansans in accessing healthy, affordable foods. The AHFT is a sub-unit of the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention (ArCOP), and is comprised of three workgroups – Food Deserts, Menu Labeling and Breastfeeding. The Food Deserts Workgroup has created a presentation that it gives around the state to raise awareness of food deserts and how to overcome them by addressing the barriers to accessing healthy foods. The workgroup is currently working to GPS map food deserts in Arkansas from a list generated by ADH’s Environmental Health Branch. The Menu Labeling Workgroup has published an educational brochure on calorie labeling in anticipation of the initiation of the menu labeling section of the Affordable Care Act. One of its next projects will be to plan the promotion of the Healthy Arkansas Restaurant Award. The Breastfeeding Workgroup worked with the Arkansas Breastfeeding Coalition to pass Act 621, requiring a private place be set aside in the workplace for breast pumping. The AHFT also created a Food Atlas that lists healthy food resources throughout the state, and trained Growing Healthy Communities on how to create one for their communities. The team is also currently planning activities/events for the national celebration of Food Day (October 24).