Summersville, West Virginia, May 4th, 2015 – How can West Virginia see more success in the local food movement? One answer is by changing food policy. On June 16th, at the Summersville Conference Center, the public is invited to learn how to get involved in the leglslative process, and create a strategy to make their ideas for food & farm policy change become reality. To register for the $15 event, go to www.wvfoodandfarm.org/policytraining.
Getting involved in food policy can lead to solutions to statewide food issues such as ensuring that people have access to healthy food, or the puzzle of small farm business viability. “Policy education is the first step towards addressing local food issues, and people are going to walk away from this training understanding how their input on the state level can make a difference in their communities,” says Stephanie Tyree, Director of Community Engagement and Policy for the West Virginia Community Development Hub.
The event is being organized by The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition, which is no stranger to leading successful food policy campaigns. The 2015 session saw them advocate for leglsiation that helps West Virginia food businesses: SB352 expanded the producer cooperative code to all businesses that relate to foods and beverages, and SB304 created a single statewide permitting process for farmers market vendors, improving and clarifying the permitting process. In 2014, they created business opportunities for small poultry farmers by advocating for an increase to the on-farm poultry exemption.
The all-day training is open to the public, and will include a presentation detailing the past successful campaigns, how to speak to the media and legislators effectively, how good laws can shape good food, and a panel of people involved in the legislative process including elected officials. The second half of the day will allow attendees to break out according to shared interests and create what could become the food policy agenda for 2016. “The more people we can get involved in food policy, the stronger West Virginia’s food system will be,” says Elizabeth Spellman, Executive Director of The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition.
To learn more about the Local Food Policy & Advocacy Training or to register, visit www.wvfoodandfarm.org/policytraining. Questions about the event should be directed to Stephanie Tyree, Director of Community Engagement and Policy for the West Virginia Community Development Hub, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (304) 360-2110.