Partner Profile: Detroit Food Policy Council
In this month’s Partner Profile we hear from Winona Bynum, the Executive Director of the Detroit Food Policy Council, about the evolution and growth of DFPC. In addition to being Executive Director, Winona is a registered dietitian/nutrition working alongside many amazing people to improve the food system in Detroit – we’re so grateful that you took the time out of your day to share with us more about DFPC!
Detroit Food Policy Council Background:
To influence policy which ensures the development and maintenance of a sustainable and equitable food system, resulting in a food-secure City of Detroit in which all of its residents are hunger-free, healthy, and benefiting from a robust food system.
· Give us your elevator pitch!
The Detroit Food Policy Council (DFPC) was established in 2009 by unanimous approval of The Detroit City Council. The DFPC is an implementation, monitoring and advisory body and consists of twenty-one members and is supported by a small staff. We work to create access to a just, open and healthy food system. We do that through education, awareness and by shaping policy. We connect people and groups who work in the food system. The values that guide our work are justice, respect, integrity, inclusion, and transparency.
· What is one thing that makes your organization stand out?
Unlike most food policy councils that are formed through government/governmental agency action; the Detroit Food Policy Council (DFPC) was formed through community action. The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network organized local food advocates, activists and other community members and approached the city government regarding bringing a food policy council to Detroit.
· Are there any organizations or individuals you look to as a role model in your work? Why? (Name just two please!)
The original food advocates that formed the DFPC took a lot cues from the Toronto Food Policy Council when forming our organization. We now work closely with many partners in the city (including DBCFSN) and the other food policy councils throughout Michigan.
Systems Leadership Approach
· How does DFPC partner with others to catalyze systems change?
The DFPC plays a unique role in the community as a convener of organizations and advocates doing work to improve access to healthy food in the city. We work with our many allies and partners to ensure that there is a coordination of efforts, to eliminate duplication of efforts and make connections that lead to greater coordination of efforts. Many of the DFPCs efforts are collaborative in nature and center around a targeted issue. The DFPC staff and council members sit on many planning committees, steering committees, collaborations and coalitions.
· Given what you know now, what is one thing you wish you’d done differently as the organization developed?
The DFPC began as an all-volunteer organization; it would have been beneficial to have a paid staff from the start of the organization.
· What is one of DFPC’s proudest achievements?
This year marks our 10th year as an organization. I am proud that we are still here, meeting regularly and working on behalf of our fellow Detroiters and been able to champion and support policies that we can now see benefiting out community. I am also proud that next spring we will host our 10th annual food summit.
· What is one challenge you’re facing right now? Anything your fellow FSLN members might be able to help with?
The challenge continues to framing issues in a way that people can easily recognize the importance that policies- local, state and federal - play in their everyday lives and helping community members find effective ways to advocate on their behalf. It also continues to be a challenge to help the philanthropic community see the value of funding long-term systems change work.
· Any quotes or words of wisdom that you find inspiring during this season?
Nothing especially food related comes readily to mind. However, in striving to work in the community in integrity this quote resonates: "I rent my title, but I own my character" - Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO JP Chase
· Have you created any useful processes/resources that you’re particularly excited about? If so, please share!
We maintain a “toolbox” of curated and original resources on our website: http://www.detroitfoodtoolkit.org.