A message from our Director: 

Winter means getting inspired and prepared, right? Whether you’re planning your garden or setting some professional goals, this is the time to gather your tools and get ready to act with intention. That’s what our Food Policy Council has been doing, too!

We received strong applications to serve as a Council Member in 2023 from many of you, which is so exciting! In addition to the 2023 cohort of Council Members who will take on a leadership and facilitation role, this turnout means our new Committees should have plenty of Committee Members. 

We are in the process of confirming each Council Member’s intent to serve and their availability so we can get the Full Council and Committee Meetings scheduled for the rest of 2023. Expect a brief meeting announcement and information about accessing and adding to meeting agendas from our Backbone Support team (Green Umbrella staff) to follow in the coming weeks.

The Council and its Committees will be collaborating to set policy-related goals for the rest of the year and beyond. There are going to be numerous opportunities for us to bring in our range of local expertise and experience, align with other organizations in coalition, and educate and advocate in our communities.

You can get involved now by providing public comment on the food focus area and other sections of the Green Cincinnati Plan if you’re a city resident (through Feb. 8), and staying up-to-date on issues like Healthy School Meals for All and the impending end of the pandemic-related boost to SNAP (you can always reach out to our legislators!). You can submit a panel, workshop, or artwork proposal for the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit, hosted annually by our parent organization, Green Umbrella (proposal deadline is Jan. 31). Check out the news about the Food Donation Improvement Act passing into law (we advocated on this one!) and about Ohio’s new CAN (Community + Agriculture + Nutrition) program getting locally produced food into our communities via food access points. And stay tuned for more information about how to advocate around the massive package of federal legislation known as the Farm Bill, which will be negotiated this year and will impact stakeholders across our regional food system. We’ll be talking about it throughout 2023.

So let’s get inspired, let’s get ready, and let’s go!

Maddie Chera, PhD

Get in touch!

As always, you can reply to reach Maddie, but you can also now get in touch with our Community Connections Coordinator, Amanda Lukas.


Many of you joined us out on the farm at Tikkun for our second Annual GATHER celebration in November. Unfortunately, an accidental fire engulfed the farm house on Christmas Eve. Thankfully, all humans and animals are safe, but it was still a huge loss for the community that utilizes Tikkun as a neighborhood hub and resource for healthy food, learning, worship, social connection, and more. Consult their website for more information and opportunities to contribute to rebuilding efforts.


Kentucky Food Action Network

The Kentucky Food Action Network (KFAN) is a collective of individuals and organizations united under the common purpose of creating accessible and resilient food systems that prioritize the health of Kentuckians and the land across our Commonwealth by nurturing all aspects of Kentucky’s food system, from the producer to the consumer. KFAN supports members in advocating, in their communities and in Frankfort and DC, and hosts multiple working groups that focus on various parts of the food system. To get connected, complete their KFAN Involvement Survey.


We Joined a Community of Practice of Regional Food Policy Councils

We have been selected to participate in a community of practice focused on regional food policy councils, which are special in that they seek to address food-related issues across county and/or state boundaries. A community of practice is a group of people who come together to share best practices, solve problems, and create resources based on a common interest and usually a shared professional field. After a thorough review of over 50 applications by a team of project organizers, including the USDA and John Hopkins University’s Center for a Livable Future, 11 food policy councils from across the country (including ours!) were selected for the project. The community of practice will span 18 months, reflecting a diversity of approaches to regional food systems work. As part of this community, our Food Policy Council will help guide research and the creation of resources to support other councils in taking regional approaches to food system development.


Feb. 16-18: Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association (OEFFA) Conference

OEFFA’s 44th Annual Conference will be held at Cherry Valley Hotel & Ohio Event Center in Newark, Ohio. It will feature educational workshops, in-depth Food & Farm School classes, inspiring keynote speakers, an exhibit hall, networking, and community conversations.

REQUEST: If you will be attending the conference and would like to share back to the rest of us, please contact MaddieWe would love your report!

More Events:

Jan. 27: KyPolicy Conference at The Campbell House (Lexington)
Feb. 4: Chickens in Your Backyard at Gorman Heritage Farm
Feb. 11: Maple Tapping Basics at Boone County Arboretum
Feb. 15: Introduction to Sustainable Home Food Production at Gorman Heritage Farm
Feb. 17: The Ohio Farmers Market Network Vendor Fair at the OEFFA Conference (conference registration not required for fair) - Contact OFMN for more information
Feb. 20-26: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Week—find a CSA program to join and contact us to learn how you could bring one to your workplace!
STAY TUNED! Feb/March: First Full Council Meeting with the new cohort + new Committee Meetings
SAVE THE DATE! May 12: Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit at the Duke Energy Convention Center


Jan. 26: Ohio Farmers Market Network 2023 Vendor Conference

This first-ever event (in Columbus, OH) will speak directly to the needs of individuals and businesses selling at a farmers market on topics ranging from licensing and proper labeling with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, to the best bang-for-your-buck marketing practices. Bonus! Attendees can also register for "Selling at a Farmers Market," an online, peer-to-peer video training series produced by the Texas Center for Local Food, for only $10 (a $50 value).


Do you have a must-read/-watch/-eat/etc. you want to share with fellow members? Email us with your suggestion for the chance to be included in our next newsletter!

Mona Jenkins, Cooperative Food Justice Coordinator for Co-Op Cincy and Co-Founder of Queen Mother's Market, is reading "Organizing a Community Around Food Sovereignty" by Ashley Gurvitz in Nonprofit Quarterly and looking forward to watching the webinar panel “Remaking the Economy: Black Food Sovereignty, Community Storiestomorrow, Jan. 25, at 2pm.

Kelly Morton, Communications Coordinator for Green Umbrella, is eating rainbow carrots from ETC Produce & Provisions and Madison’s at Findlay Market (needed a refill because she is going through them so quickly!).

Isabelle Booker, Communications Intern for Green Umbrella, is reading Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer.


The mission of the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council is to create a
healthy, equitable, sustainable food system for all in our ten-county region.

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