On February 11th, SOFSA hosted its first Food Policy Coffee Hour with elected representatives, bringing folks from local and state government together with others across our food system for informal conversations on regional food policy, and how to improve it.

We were lucky enough to be joined by Senator Rachel May of New York’s 53rd Senate District, and Assemblywoman Pamela J. Hunter of New York’s 128th Assembly District. The two opened the meeting with passionate words about their connections to food sovereignty issues, and where they saw room for development. Afterwards, we heard from Jamie Fico, graduate researcher in Geography and the Environment at Syracuse University, about the results of the national scan of food policy council activities she has been conducting over the last year.

With the pumps primed, the group split into breakout sessions based on the level of government policy they were most interested in discussing. Separate discussions were held for state-level, county-level, and local-level policy, with a fourth room open for folks of various interests. When the rooms closed, the groups reconvened, and shared back about their conversations. Scroll through the gallery below to see the notes from each breakout group, taken by gracious volunteers from SU’s Lender Center for Social Justice (thanks so much, everyone!).

The meeting ended with a brief presentation from Matt Potteiger, Professor of Landscape Architecture at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, on Food Plan CNY, which has recently released an executive summary of their policy recommendations. Click here to learn more.

Altogether, we’d like to thank everyone for a wonderful event — especially our special guests Senator May and Assemblywoman Hunter, and the many SOFSA members and volunteers who contributed to make it such a success. Here’s to the next one!