As another effort to reduce food insecurity and improve access to fresh, healthy food on a sustainable basis for residents in Lyon County, Healthier Lyon County determined that a food policy council would be an effective means of raising awareness of the issue as well as the contributing factors and, most importantly, provide a structure to improve those factors.
Fortunately, a number of food policy councils have been established in Kansas and the Public Health Law Center has captured their Bylaws and other information that helped as the Lyon County Food and Farm Council was being created. Members were recruited based on the various sectors that were recommended and in October 2019 the Council was adopted as a Board of Lyon County.
At the first meeting of the Council, during an activity to get to know one another and determine each members’ expectations of the group, among the 12 members that were present that day, 3 expressed their own experience with food insecurity and, at times, homelessness. Their familiarity with the issues that families face trying to feed themselves and their families adds a layer of empathy compassion to the Council’s work. While others criticize and sneer at a person’s presence at food distribution sites, Council members understand the courage it often takes to ask for help and have resolved to help increase the capacity of individuals living in food deserts in Lyon County to understand the importance of fresh food by increasing community gardens and providing cooking lessons, establish a system of food recovery, and support a strong farm to school network for the three school districts in Lyon County.