In communities throughout the United States public policies guide decision-making on issues such as health care, education, transportation, and land use. Few communities, however, have food policies to guide deliberation on complex issues such as nutrition, access to affordable food, farmland preservation, and saving family farms. Many localities and states are now considering the formation of food policy councils to address these and related issues. Below are some of the organizations establishing the foundation for food policy initiatives in Washington state.

Cascade Harvest Coalition (
The Cascade Harvest Coalition is the primary forum for individuals, organizations and agencies working on programs to enhance and sustain agriculture in Western Washington. The Coalition promotes the formation of county-level agricultural commissions and advisory boards, and it co-sponsors a bi-annual Western Washington Ag Summit to bring together local leaders to address policy issues. There are currently agricultural commissions or advisory boards in Clallam, King, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom Counties, with more in the process of formation. Each fall Coalition members sponsor Harvest Celebration Days, annual events that attract thousands of families to visit more than 100 local farms and ranches throughout Western Washington.

Faith Action Network (formerly Lutheran Public Policy Office of Washington) (
The Lutheran Public Policy Office is the advocacy ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Its purpose is to be an active and listening presence in the "halls of power" advocating justice for all of God's creation, with particular focus on the "least of those in our midst." ELCA has 275 congregations across Washington state, with approximately 60% in rural settings. Consequently, the Lutheran Public Policy Office is involved with numerous agricultural organizations that promote the concept of sustainable agriculture, strives to get congregations involved in this conversation, and advocates for public policies at the state and federal level that will benefit family-based farms.

Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network (
The Network is statewide policy organization that focuses on fundamental change in the priorities of Washington's agricultural institutions. The Network championed the creation of the Washington State Dept of Agriculture's Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program and is leading a successful campaign to establish a sustainable agriculture curriculum at Washington State University. The Network has also challenged WSU's increased emphasis on biotechnology, urging instead that the state's agricultural university concentrate its efforts to support small family farms, which make up 87 percent of the farms in this state.