Issues: Food Policy Council

The Mississippi Food Policy Council has launched its own website. Visit to see meeting minutes, resources, events, and other information. You can also find the MFPC on Facebook here.

The Issue

It is no secret that Mississippi is ranked as the heaviest state in the nation. In 2009, 67.8% of people living in Mississippi were either overweight or obese. F as in Fat: How Obesity Rates are Failing in America, a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, suggests that one reason for this startling statistic is that many Americans do not have the adequate access or funds to buy healthy foods. As David Ludwig and Harold Pollack state in Journal of the American Medical Association, “Economic adversity induces consumers to replace nutritious but expensive produce with less costly, high-calorie, commodity- based products.” In order to combat this disparity, The Mississippi Food Policy Council is leading the fight to make healthier foods available to all individuals and to allow small farmers and producers to enter local markets in Mississippi by:

  • Supporting the establishment of the Mississippi Healthy Foods Advisory Committee which will study areas of the state that are underserved in the retail availability of healthy foods and the impact of the limited retail availability on Mississippi residents. Details about the committee can be found in the MS House Bill 1170 here
  • Advocating to allow the use of SNAP/EBT (food stamps) at farmers markets around the state.
  • Working to expand Farm to School programs within Mississippi.
  • Advocating for sensible regulations that allow for in-home production of some low risk food items.
  • Working to eliminate barriers to the third-party sale of produce.
  • Promoting school and community gardens.

What is a Food Policy Council?

Food Policy Councils (FPCs) provide a unique forum for diverse stakeholders to come together and address common concerns regarding food policy including food systems, food security, farm policy, food regulations, health, and nutrition. Stakeholders include people such as farmers, city and state officials, non-profit organizations, chefs, food distributors, food justice advocates, educators, health professionals, and concerned citizens. FPCs bring together these stakeholders to share concerns and then utilize this diverse membership to act on common goals, thus influencing and shaping food policy.

More information about the Mississippi Food Policy Council

The Mississippi Food Policy Council was established in April of 2010 and is comprised of stakeholders focused on issues such as hunger, farming, health, nutrition and policy.  The steering committee has been comprised of organizations such as: Mississippi Health Advocacy Program, Harvard Law School, Real Food Gulf Coast, Delta Directions Consortium, Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, Mississippi Poultry Association, Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, Indianola Main Street/Indianola Farmers Market, Cole Farms, North Delta Produce Growers Association, Delta Fresh Foods, Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity, Mississippi Farm Bureau, Gulf Coast Health Educators, and Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi. Individuals from Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi, and several government agencies are also involved. The mission of the MS Food Policy Council is to advocate for food and farm policies that build healthy communities and strengthen local food systems.


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