Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic Publishes State Food Policy Toolkit

Download the toolkit here: Good Laws , Good Food: Putting State Food Policy to Work for Our Communities

The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic is excited to announce the release of Good Laws, Good Food: Putting State Food Policy to Work for Our Communities, the second toolkit in a two-part series for communities seeking to make change in their food and agriculture system.


The laws and policies that shape our nation’s food system affect all of the processes that bring us food from farm to fork and are created at various levels of government. Although the federal government sets many of the food and agricultural laws and policies that impact our food system, state and local governments also have significant roles to play. This state level toolkit focuses on the ways that states can change their policies to improve their food and agriculture systems. For a local perspective, check out our first publication, published in July 2012, entitled Good Laws, Good Food: Putting Local Food Policy to Work for Our Communities. These toolkits were created in response to the growth in local and state food policy councils over the past few years. As a result of the increasing public interest in the food system, diverse stakeholders have come together in food policy councils that aim to strengthen and improve local and regional food systems. Our local and state food policy toolkits aim to provide the legal context and policy examples from around the nation to help these food policy councils get started on changing their food systems.


Good Laws, Good Food: Putting State Food Policy to Work for Our Communities focuses on eight areas of law and policy that are likely the most relevant to state food policy councils, including “Food System Infrastructure,” “Farm to Institution,” and “Food Safety & Processing.” Each section provides general background in addition to examples of states doing innovative work in that area. A couple of the state food policy solutions highlighted in the toolkit are Vermont’s financing of a mobile slaughter unit for small-scale poultry processing and Alaska’s procurement law that requires state agencies to purchase agricultural products from in-state producers as long as the in-state product costs no more than 7% more than similar out-of-state products. We hope this toolkit inspires and guides state food policy councils so that we can add even more innovative policies in our next edition of the toolkit.


This toolkit was created in partnership with Mark Winne, community food activist, writer, and trainer with over 40 years of experience, and the principal of Mark Winne Associates. Prior to the development of Mark Winne Associates, Mark Winne was the co-founder of the Community Food Security Coalition, where he worked from 2005 to 2012 on federal food and farm policy issues and food policy councils. Mark Winne Associates recently published a manual for interested stakeholders and groups hoping to form new food policy councils or expand existing food policy councils entitled Doing Food Policy Councils Right: A Guide to Development and Action.

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