Extension Hosts the Evolving Pittsburgh Food Policy Council (PFPC)

Posted: July 19, 2011

Heather Mikulas, Extension’s Program Associate for Community Based Agriculture, is the current chairperson for the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council. The council, founded in 2009, engages with communities in the Pittsburgh “foodshed” to improve the food systems in this area.
Ann DeSanctis at recent PFPC meeting.

Ann DeSanctis at recent PFPC meeting.

Heather was most recently responsible for researching and recruiting eight new Steering Committee members to the council and continues to explore ways to increase both their impact and capacity.  Ann DeSanctis, Extension intern and the Student Conservation Association’s Green Cities Corps Fellow, assists Heather as the secretary for the council and performs administrative duties.

Last year the PFPC worked closely with the Department of City Planning to provide expertise and insight on the urban agriculture zoning ordinance which was passed in early 2011. Carnegie Library in Homewood was the site for a June, 2010 screening of the film Food, Inc.  Sponsored by PFPC, an audience of over 200 attended and stayed for a panel discussion on food issues in Pittsburgh.

One order of business proposed for 2011 is a Regional Food Policy Council Symposium. Designed to connect fledgling and more established councils, this meeting would offer groups a forum where interaction, collaboration and shared learning are encouraged, for the greater good of food policy in the region. Council is also investigating the implementation of a Professional Development Series for individuals working in agriculturally related fields.

The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council currently consists of an 18-person Steering Committee, with plans to open the council to other membership levels as opportunities arise.  If you would like to learn more contact Heather Mikulas at 412-473-2540 or .


“The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council envisions a food system that benefits our community, our economy and our environment, in ways that are equitable and sustainable. The council serves as a collaborative advisory organization, bringing together stakeholders from diverse food-related sectors to examine, develop and improve Pittsburgh’s food system. It is committed to working with City officials and residents of Pittsburgh to develop food and urban agriculture policy. The council provides technical assistance, education, momentum and support on issues related to food production, food access, food distribution, health/nutrition education and urban planning.”