Advocates, activists and concerned citizens gathered at the Stephens-Lee Recreation Center on Friday, July 31, for the Asheville-Buncombe County Food Policy Council’s Meeting of the Whole.
ABFPC is a coalition of community members and representatives from nonprofits and other organizations who work to implement policy changes that will foster healthier food environments and improved food access throughout the region. The July 31 meeting was the first Meeting of the Whole since April 2014.
The Meeting of the Whole is designed to bring together “members, decision-makers and the community to celebrate progress, learn from each other and plan future efforts,” according to ABFPC. The event began with a meal that allowed participants to converse and make new connections. Throughout the evening, participants were encouraged to rotate throughout the tables and meet new people.
Laura Cheatham, a member of the ABFPC General Council, facilitated the meeting, which began with the introduction of Mary Ellen Lough, the ABFPC’s new coordinator. Participants then rotated through various groups attempting to answer the question, “What would a thriving and just food system look like?”
The conversations that arose over the evening were recorded and will serve to guide the direction of ABFPC in the coming months. The evening concluded with participants asked to survey all of the ideas discussed over the course of the evening and identify the ones they were most supportive or passionate about.
Organizers for the event indicated that attendance was lower than expected. Overall 50-60 participants attended the event.