2010 – 2011
- FPCSA, in partnership with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and the UTSA School of Public Policy, commissioned a Food Insecurity Assessment from UTSA’s Department of Demography. Using Census data and the USDA food atlas, as well as original survey and focus group findings, it provided a status of food insecurity in San Antonio, and opened the stage for questions and present needs in the community
- Nutrition graduate intern developed an inventory of local food-related programs by UTSA graduate students
2011 – 2012
- Through our internship program, UTSA graduate students completed a survey of local ordinances related to food production, distribution and consumption, and a GIS study of a West Side neighborhood’s food establishments, with a health index
- Following Seattle’s lead, developed and submitted a council resolution in support of a healthier 2012 Farm Bill
- Served as coordinators for collecting and publicizing San Antonio’s Food Day activities
- In May, a two-day, three-track conference, “Sustaining Our Food, Sustaining Our Future,” drew participants from around the state and around the food system for learning and engagement and was hailed as an educational and inspirational event
- At the end of the CPPW grant, the FPCSA incorporated as a Texas nonprofit organization
- In August, an officer of the FPCSA facilitated a series of strategic planning workshops for the Houston Food Policy Work Group
- In June, held the second annual conference, “Honor the Land, Honor the People,” again drawing a diverse audience locally and from around the state
- Collaborated with Metro Health on a sodium reduction grant that was awarded
- Collaborated with Metro Health and other City partners to develop high standards for nutrition in the Pre-K for SA program
- Partnered with anti-hunger and social justice organizations to address the problems of hunger and diet-related disease in San Antonio
- Advised SAHA (San Antonio Housing Authority), along with AgriLife, Green Spaces Alliance and others on an urban farm/CSA for resident job training
- Collaborated with City of San Antonio Department of Planning and Community Development on urban agriculture and other food related policies in the revision of the Unified Development Code
- Continue to provide information to the community about policies and their effects on the food system
The Food Policy Council formed four work groups based on identified needs in the community:
- Farm to School
- Food in Local Emergency Plans
- Code Review
- Urban Agriculture
Rather than hold another conference, the FPCSA chose to focus efforts in these strategic areas.
The work groups continued to dig deep on the issues and recent accomplishments include:
- Code Review: Contributed proposals to the Unified Development Code revision by the Development Services Department, to increase food access by ensuring that growing, processing and selling food are permitted in all zoning districts.
- Farm to School: Surveys were fielded of school nutrition directors, parents, and providers to determine the level of usage and interest for using locally grown produce in school food programs.
- Urban Agriculture: A map of known urban agriculture sites in San Antonio was published, and will be updated it regularly.
Through an annual strategic planning process held in January, the FPCSA board and auxiliary membership identified five organizational priorities related to the organizational mission. Ranked in order of importance, those priorities (also referred to as “Initiatives”) include:
- Urban Agriculture
- Farm To School
- Big Soda
- Farmers Markets*
- Data Collection*
(*To address immediate concerns, two temporary work groups were established, Farmers Markets and Data Collection. Once the information was gleaned and problems were resolved, the work groups subsequently dissolved.)
Additionally, the annual strategic planning meeting established three organizational priorities required to advance the council’s initiatives. Those priorities are:
- To further define and establish the council’s values and principles centered on food and the community’s food system
- To establish a component within the council that will collect, analyze and share data on food and the local food system
- To play a bigger role in the community via communications and education
The Farm to School Work Group worked closely with local schools and food vendors to conduct surveys that will paint a complete picture of the interest in farm to school initiatives in schools and school districts across the city. The purpose of this work is to increase access to healthier foods and use of locally produced foods served by schools throughout the city.
The Policy Work Group partnered with several City of San Antonio departments to develop language revisions in the City’s Unified Development Code. Through this work, city codes related to urban farms, residential gardens, etc., were redefined and or relaxed.
The FPCSA partnered with local farmers market managers, advocates and stakeholders to address the increasingly high fees assessed by city departments. As a result of this process, fees were significantly reduced by the San Antonio Fire Department and negotiations will continue with other city departments.
In August, the City of San Antonio adopted the first Sustainability Plan for San Antonio Tomorrow. Working with the Office of Sustainability, the FPCSA helped to guide the development and adoption of nine goals centered on a establishing a sustainable local food system.
In December, the incoming President, Mitch Hagney, presented on behalf of the Farm to School Work Group at the monthly superintendent meeting. The presentation sparked the discussion of the importance of farm to school initiatives in schools and school districts. Mayor Ivy Taylor was also in attendance and the FPCSA was invited to continue this conversation with her in 2017.