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Cleveland — Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition (CCCFPC)


Dissemination Category: The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition (CCCFC or "coalition") is an emerging intervention based on its use of evidence-based strategies. Developed in practice, it shows promise but evidence is support of effectiveness is not yet available.

Intent of the Intervention:  The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition (CCCFPC, or "coalition") was formed to help bring about public and private policy-based changes that foster a healthier food system in Cleveland and surrounding Cuyahoga County, Ohio.   The CCCFPC accomplishes its policy work by bringing together and building the capacity of a broad range of stakeholders to promote a just, equitable, healthy, and sustainable food system.   The CCCFPC is an emerging intervention that addresses the organizational, community, and public policy levels of the socio-ecologic model.

Intended Population:  While the intended beneficiaries of the CCCFPC's work are all community residents of Cleveland and surrounding Cuyahoga County, the primary target audiences are stakeholders from all aspects of the regional food system, including food producers, consumers, food waste managers, food-related businesses, organizations such as hunger-relief groups, and policymakers.


  1. Community (zoning regulations, farmers' markets, agriculture policies)

  2. Schools (encourage healthy foods in schools)

Background:  The CCCFPC evolved out of the Steps Community Consortium, a component of the Cleveland Department of Public Health's Steps to a Healthier Cleveland ("Steps") grant beginning in 2004 that focused on a broad spectrum of public health issues including mental health, physical activity, community healthcare workers, smoking cessation, and more.   In 2007, convening organizations and stakeholders spent six months conducting formative work before establishing the CCCFPC.   The convening organizations were the Ohio State University Extension (OSUE), Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Department of Public Health, and the New Agrarian Center. The founding stakeholders included a core group of 20-30 individuals and organizations, many of them members of the Steps Community Consortium.   Components of the formative work included:

  1. Reviewing and researching food policy councils (FPCs) across North America, particularly city and county-based FPCs.   These case studies included the Toronto Food Policy Council, the Dane County (WI) Food Policy Council, the Portland Food Policy Council, and the Michigan Food Policy Council.  
  2. Conducting a scan of the non-profit environment in the Cleveland area and the financial resources available for non-profit and community work.   Through this process, the convening groups decided a non-profit structure was not appropriate for the CCCFPC because Cleveland did not need another non-profit with overhead and administrative costs.   They also decided not to establish the CCCFPC under a local government agency because hierarchal structures and bureaucratic processes might adversely impact the flexible, responsive, and independent nature of the CCCFPC.  
  3. Conducting several stakeholder surveys. One survey helped set priorities and determined the best process for establishing working groups. A second survey helped develop a "wish list" of what CCCFPC members hoped to accomplish through the work of the coalition.

The structure of the CCCFPC emerged through regular meetings during this early formative period. Funding from the Steps grant was used in the early phase of the CCCFPC, but eventually the George Gund Foundation became the primary funding source with additional support from other local philanthropic partners.

Length of time in the field:  The CCCFPC has been in existence since 2007.