Edmonton’s Food Council is now real

The inaugural meeting of the Edmonton Food Council took place on Monday night at the Commonwealth Recreation Centre. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work with fourteen passionate and dedicated Edmontonians to move this initiative forward!

Edmonton Food Council
Photo courtesy of the City of Edmonton

In November 2012, City Council approved fresh, Edmonton’s Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy. It called for an Edmonton Food Council to be established, a process which began in earnest in May of this year. By early June, 57 citizens submitted their applications to the City, a great show of interest. Interviews with 22 of them took place in mid-July, and finally on July 26 the City announced the names of the 15 citizens selected to serve on the inaugural Food Council. Here they are:

Some folks I know fairly well, others I look forward to getting to know over the months ahead. There’s a really great mix of perspectives and backgrounds, and I think we’re going to have some fascinating conversations as a result.

Edmonton Food Council
Photo courtesy of the City of Edmonton

Mayor Mandel kicked the meeting off with some introductory remarks, and made it clear that we should feel empowered as a group to decide how best to contribute to the implementation of fresh. He put a nice spin on the Food Council’s elevator pitch:

As a committee of the City’s administration, the Edmonton Food Council’s primary role is to advise on matters of food and urban agriculture and to take an active role in supporting the implementation of fresh. Other core jobs may include providing advice, undertaking research and evaluation, coordination, engagement and education.

For the rest of the evening, facilitator Beth Sanders led us through a helpful process to tease out desires and perspectives. It was great to hear from everyone and to realize by the end of the night that we had already come to some consensus on how we’ll interact as a team. I can’t say it any better than the newsletter that went out today:

What became clear is that there is no shortage of energy with this group. When discussing when monthly meetings should be held, the group quickly came to consensus that monthly meetings would not be enough to maintain momentum. They wanted to meet sooner than later. No doubt that the commitment and enthusiasm of this group will have a lasting effect on Edmonton’s food and urban agriculture landscape.

Energy is a great word – there was lots of it on Monday night! We’re all eager to get to work, and we want to actually get things done. Being nomination day, I couldn’t help but think of the phrase that so many candidates had remarked to me after filing their paperwork – “now it’s real!”

Edmonton Food Council
Photo courtesy of the City of Edmonton

Edmonton Food Council meetings will be open to the public, and there will very likely be opportunities to get involved. You can get all the information on the City’s website, and I’d also encourage you to subscribe to the Food In The City newsletter.

  • David Kahane

    I’m very pleased about the ‘open to the public’ part. Please give lots of notice for meetings!

    A lot of expectation is on the Council’s shoulders. I and many others look forward to good things. Soon.

  • Katharine Weinmann

    Yes, a stellar group and good to know you’re part of it, Mack. I know some members from Slow Food Edmonton and the group has the good fortune of being assisted by my friend and colleague, Beth Sanders, facilitator-host and city advocate.

    Perhaps you and some of your colleagues, would consider participating in our November training in public engagement, called The Art of Hosting BIG Decisions. Right up your alley and you’d bring much to the conversation.
    http://www.artofhostingbigdecisions.com

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  • A Canadian Foodie

    “What became clear is that there is no shortage of energy with this
    group. When discussing when monthly meetings should be held, the group
    quickly came to consensus that monthly meetings would not be enough to
    maintain momentum. They wanted to meet sooner than later. No doubt that
    the commitment and enthusiasm of this group will have a lasting effect
    on Edmonton’s food and urban agriculture landscape.”
    IMPRESSIVE – and I am not surprised. So tickled with the people that I know on the council – and, like you, look forward to getting to know the others through the work each undertakes. Thank you for the update! I look forward to more…

    🙂
    V