[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature 2-1-2011 by L.L. No. 11-2011. Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of local laws amending these provisions are included at the end of this chapter.]
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that access to healthy food is essential to maintaining a healthy, productive society.
This Legislature also finds and determines that over 18% of Americans did not eat enough last year.
This Legislature further finds and determines that there are at least 7,705 households in Suffolk County which do not have a car and are located more than one mile from the nearest food store.
This Legislature finds that many more people in Suffolk County have only limited access to healthy foods, as they cannot afford to purchase fresh food and must frequently purchase processed foods with little nutritional value.
This Legislature determines that the growing obesity epidemic in the United States and increased cases of Type II diabetes in children are related to our local and national eating habits.
This Legislature also finds that 22.3% of all children in Suffolk County are obese.
This Legislature further finds that strengthened food policies by federal, state and local governments can improve public health and help families obtain healthy, fresh, nutrient-rich foods.
This Legislature also determines that food policy councils bring together stakeholders from diverse food-related sectors to examine how the local food system is operating and develop recommendations on how to prioritize food policies and improve food systems.
Therefore, the purpose of this chapter is to establish a food policy council for Suffolk County.
The Food Policy Council is hereby created for the following purposes:
To ensure that schools and other public institutions in Suffolk County serve healthy, delicious meals and give preference to purchasing from local farms.
To include and improve access to local government agencies which support the stability of local food infrastructure.
To develop policies that encourage success in small- and mid-scale farming ventures, decrease exposure to hazards and support fair labor practices.
To utilize a broad range of public investments and tools in Suffolk County to increase public access to healthy food and decrease inequities across race and class which contribute to food insecurity and compromise health.
To implement steps to eliminate artificial pesticides and fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, and other contaminants that disrupt ecosystems and human health.
To help promote local and regional sustainably grown, harvested or produced food within the food system, and encourage local businesses to distribute and promote these foods in every community, especially in the underserved communities of Suffolk County.
To encourage the use of locally grown products for food distribution and processing.
To make recommendations to the County Legislature and County Executive of actions the County may take to meet these goals.
[Amended 6-18-2013 by L.L. No. 30-2013]
The Food Policy Council shall consist of the following 17 members:
The Commissioner of the Department of Health Services, or his or her designee, who shall serve as Chairman.
The Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development, or his or her designee.
The Commissioner of the Department of Social Services, or his designee.
A representative of the Long Island Farm Bureau.
Two food equity advocates, to be selected by the County Legislature.
A representative of food retailers, to be selected by the County Legislature.
A representative of food processors, to be selected by the County Legislature.
A representative of food distributors, to be selected by the County Legislature.
Representatives of two community-based groups, to be selected by the County Legislature.
A representative of local food workers, to be selected by the County Legislature.
The Presiding Officer of the County Legislature, or his or her designee.
The Chair of the County Legislature's Environment and Planning Committee, or his or her designee.
A representative of the seafood industry.
[Amended 7-8-2015 by L.L. No. 28-2015]
The County Executive, or his designee.
A local public school district administrator, to be selected by the Legislature.
The members of said Council shall serve without compensation.
[Amended 7-8-2015 by L.L. No. 28-2015]
All appointed members of the Food Policy Council shall serve for a term of three years. Any appointed member of this Council who is absent from four consecutive regular meetings, unless excused by resolution thereof, shall be deemed to have vacated his/her position on this Council. Vacancies occurring in such office otherwise than by the expiration of the term shall be filled for the unexpired balance of the term.
The Council shall hold its first meeting no later than 30 days after the oaths of office of all members have been filed, which meeting shall be convened by the Chairman of the Council, for the purpose of organization and the appointment of a Vice Chairperson and a Secretary.
The Council shall hold regular meetings, keep a record of all its proceedings and determine the rules of its own proceedings, with special meetings to be called by the Chairperson upon his or her own initiative or upon receipt of a written request therefor signed by at least three members of the Council. Written notice of the time and place of such special meetings shall be given to each member at least four days before the date fixed by the notice for such special meeting. The Council shall hold at least four meetings per year.
A majority of the full Council shall constitute a quorum to transact the business of the Council at both regular and special meetings.
The Council may submit requests to the County Executive and the County Legislature for approval for the provision of secretarial services, travel expenses or the retention of consultants to assist the Council with such endeavors, said total expenditures not to exceed $5,000 per fiscal year, which services shall be subject to legislative approval.
Clerical services involving the month-to-month operation of this Council, as well as supplies and postage as necessary, will be provided by the staff of the County Department of Health Services.
The Council may conduct public hearings at any place or places within the County of Suffolk for the purpose of obtaining necessary information or other data to assist it in the proper performance of its duties and functions as it deems necessary. The Council will conduct at least two public hearings each year.
The Council may delegate to any member of the Council the power and authority to conduct such hearings.
The Council shall submit a written annual report of its activities together with its recommendations for action, if any, to the County Executive and to each member of the County Legislature no later than January 31 of each year, for the prior calendar year activities, for consideration, review and appropriate action, if necessary, by the entire County Legislature.
None of the work contemplated by this chapter shall be performed by any outside consultant or consulting firm unless explicit approval and authorization for such consultant or consulting firm is granted pursuant to a duly enacted resolution of the County Legislature.