By: Francis Griffin, Intern, Food Safety, Health & Wellness, Sustainability, Food Marketing Institute
Family dinners played a significant role in my life for as long as I can remember. Although each family member had different schedules partnered with individual time restrictions or scheduling challenges, we came together at the end of each day to unwind and reconnect over a meal. These nights have shaped my family’s dynamic, and are one of the main reasons that our relationships are as healthy and strong as they are today. During my first few weeks as an intern, I helped to further an outstanding initiative throughout the United States: Proclaiming Family Meals Month in Every State.
State resolutions/proclamations are an excellent way to support the National Family Meals Month™ programs and are being implemented by the retailers and suppliers across the country. Promoting family meals is a win for all constituents including consumers, communities, and food retailers. Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin officially celebrated Family Meals Month in September 2018 by establishing state proclamations, resolutions, or bills. On May 2, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) signed a resolution proclaiming September 2019 as Family Meals Month, thanks to the good advocacy of the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association.
There are a few pathways to declaring September as Family Meals Month in your state.
Resolutions are one option. A legislative resolution expresses the views of the majority of one or both houses of the Legislature. While resolutions require a legislative process, and all the uncertainties that may entail, they can have the benefit of permanency. A resolution can declare September of every year to be Family Meals Month.
Governor Proclamations are another pathway. Proclamations recognize days, weeks, or months for a single year that draw attention to noteworthy issues/causes among citizens of the state. Proclamations typically require much less process than resolutions. Depending on the state, they can be requested during or out of legislative session by a state resident and in some cases, a non-state resident, by simply filling out a form on a governor’s website. In fact, eighteen states have no residency requirement for submitting resolutions. In some states, these requests can be submitted as late as a month before the desired date of the proclamation. For example, while Louisiana requires fourteen business days, Colorado requires six weeks. However, proclamations are only good for one year and will need to be renewed annually.
When’s the Right Time?
There’s still time to start the proclamation process in your state for 2019 or to begin legislative planning for the 2020 state sessions, and your success will help to elevate National Family Meals Month™ across the nation. To see samples of state bills and proclamations, click here. And be sure to check-out this video of the 2018 campaigns. We hope to include your state along with Tennessee in the 2019 sizzle reel.
You can find more resources here and please feel free to reach out to the FMI Foundation (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Congratulations to the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association in their efforts toward proclaiming September 2019 as Family Meals Month!