The Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council (FPAC) recently received a $30,000 grant from a local nonprofit that wishes to remain anonymous. The partnership was formed by Serve Philadelphia VISTA member Wadia Gardiner. 

Since its conception in 2011, FPAC has served as Philadelphia’s dominant advocate for food justice. It seeks to address barriers to food security through policy recommendations and educational programming. Supported by the Office of Sustainability, the Council has welcomed a variety of staff, appointed members, and City collaborators. They include voices from academia, government, and the general public, and work together to create a more just food system for all. 

Wadia manages much of FPAC’s social media communications. She says they will use this funding to further align with the citywide Urban Agricultural Plan. The Council’s immediate goal is to increase internal capacity. That first involves providing stipends for 19 new Council members, based on hours served per month. Wadia anticipates working with the Office of Sustainability’s new grant coordinator to obtain additional grant funds and looks forward to supporting the initiation of partnerships with other Food Policy Councils in the state. Learn more about FPAC’s mission and how you can get involved. 

Wadia is now halfway through her second term as a VISTA member at the Office of Sustainability. She has no plans of stepping away from the fight for food justice when her service term comes to a close. “We are far from done,” she says. Wadia intends to put her Segal Education Award (a benefit available to all AmeriCorps VISTA members upon completion of one full-service term) towards college courses in agriculture and communications. She also plans to form a coalition with other backyard gardeners and continue to serve as an advocate and educator within her West Philadelphia community. 

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