The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council serves as a collaborative advisory organization, bringing together stakeholders from diverse food-related sectors to examine, develop, and improve the food system of our region.

The PFPC convenes food systems stakeholders and change makers to network, break down silos, invite participation in decision making and priority setting, inspire collaboration, provide leadership development and training, develop comprehensive food policy approaches, and strengthen movement building. Combining dynamic presentations, collaborative activities and networking, PFPC hosts regular meetings to connect the larger community of advocates, entrepreneurs, community members and policymakers to help coordinate the activities and policy initiatives of the Working Groups. 



Over the last two decades, food policy councils have emerged around the United States as venues for shaping state and local policy to support sustainable food systems. The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council (PFPC) was formed in 2009 when a group of local stakeholders began convening to address community issues. The council aims to serve as a collaborative advisory organization, bringing together people from diverse food-related sectors to examine, develop and improve Pittsburgh's food system.

The PFPC first developed a common vision statement and council charter, sharing a vision for "a food system that benefits the community, the economy and the environment in ways that are equitable and sustainable." The council is committed to working with City officials and residents of Pittsburgh to develop food and urban agriculture policy. The Council also provides technical assistance, education, momentum and support on issues related to food production, food access, food distribution, health/nutrition and urban planning. 

Our Members

As a collective impact organization, our members are our most important asset.

The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council is made up of members from various government, non-profit, co-op, university, and farm entities from the SW Pennsylvania Region who could be competing for scarce resources, but rather have decided to support each other's individual missions and goals. This structure has benefited the community by creating one strong, coordinated voice.


Membership Directory

Learn about out members, how they’re connected and how to reach them.


Working Groups

Where the real work gets done

Being a part of a working group is a great way to get involved with the real work of creating a just food system in the greater Pittsburgh area. Our working groups meet monthly to conduct research, work on relevant projects, and learn about the issues that affect our region. Learn about each Working Group below and visit our meetings and events page to learn about meeting times and locations.

Just curious? Feel free to stop by a Working Group meeting to learn more or message our Working Group Project Managers with specific questions.


Urban Ag Working Group

The Urban Agriculture (UA) Working Group’s goal is to influence policies and programs that help people to grow, share, and sell healthy food in urban settings

This group focuses on food growing opportunities and addressing issues of:

  • Agriculture as a “highest and best use” of vacant lots, providing access to resources to support urban farming

  • Providing long-term protection for urban agricultural land

  • Fostering environmental sustainability measures such as composting and soil health

  • Educating the public on urban agriculture zoning code regulations and processes

Urban Ag working group is currently led by Dana Harris Yates, a Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Coop (BUGS) member, founder of the Indigenous Farmers Aboriginal Alliance and owner of Cultural Oasis, LLC and Jon Burgess, Policy Director and Urban Agriculture Program Lead at the Allegheny County Conservation District.

Other active members include: The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, the Hilltop Urban Farm, Sankofa Village Community Garden, Grow Pittsburgh, Penn State Extension, BUGS, National Young Farmers Coalition, Allegheny County Conservation District, Trellis Legal, Manchester Growing Together Farm, the Hazelwood Urban Ag Team, the East End Food Coop and Phipps Homegrown.

Current Projects:

  • Farm-A-Lot- Worked hand in hand with the URA to develop this program which functions to allow residents to get access to URA land for farm projects. The Urban Ag working group continues to support the URA as they develop the details and use agreements for this project. Spring 2019 should be a pilot year implementation. Critical partners in this work include the Allegheny County Conservation District, Grow Pittsburgh, the Hilltop Urban Farm, Trellis Legal, Penn State Extension.

  • Farmer Conditions Report- Using national, regional and local data to produce a Farmer Conditions Report for the purpose of framing our local challenges in a larger context. This report should be complete in the Spring of 2019. This work is led by the Allegheny County Conservation District, Penn State Extension and Productive Spaces.

  • Urban Growers Scholarship Fund- Created fund that was seeded with proceeds from the 2018 Pittsburgh Urban Farm Tour which was organized by the East End Food Coop in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. This fund has been designed to increase access for urban growers to professional development opportunities. Eligible expenses include relevant conferences, workshops, trainings, and/or the associated travel costs to these opportunities. Applicants will apply to the Urban Agriculture Working Group (UAWG) for scholarship funds through the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council (PFPC) website. Urban growers that are interested in applying for scholarship funds can do so here.

  • PA Department of Agricultural Urban Agriculture Advisory Committee-Several
    working group members as well as the working group coordinator sit on the Urban Ag Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Agriculture. This statewide body advises the Secretary on urban ag policy priorities across the Commonwealth.


Past Projects:

  • 2017 Community Engagement events- Planned and carried out quarterly community engagement events at locations throughout the City. Event topics were centered on policy priorities that were identified by the working group members and previous community
    outreach. They were; soil contamination and health, land access, compost and financial resources for farms and gardens.

  • Pittsburgh Land Bank Policies and Procedures document development- Working group members participated in the public process used to inform the draft document. Once drafted, the working group provided a few rounds of comments on the document with the specific aims of securing green space as a priority of the Land Bank, crafting a transparent and fair appeals process and ensuring that equity and community voices are prioritized by the Land Bank procedures.

  • Climate Action Plan- Working group members participated in a number of  visioning and scoping meetings for the Climate Action Plan. Once drafted, members provided several rounds of comments, specifically on the Food chapter of the draft Climate Action Plan.

  • City of Pittsburgh Urban Agriculture Zoning Code- The working group worked in conjunction with the City to revise and update the Urban Ag Zoning Code to result in one of the most progressive urban ag zoning codes in the Nation permitting chickens, bees and goats on private, urban lots.  

More information on other Working Groups coming soon!

Food Access Initiatives

Food Access Initiatives

Regional Food Economy

Regional Food Economy

Food Health and Equity

Food Health and Equity