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The NJFPA Stradley Ronon Food Forum

This series will focus on stories about the people changing the face of the food processing in the Garden State through innovation, hard work and lending a caring hand. The NJFPA will endeavor to tell the stories that might now get attention in other mainstream channels.

If this series inspires and provides actionable ideas, it will achieve its aims.

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Oct 12, 2021

Welcome to the first episode of Season 2 of the NJFPA Stradley Ronon Food Forum Podcast. In this episode, Bill Mandia, Partner at Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, speaks with Mary Ellen Peppard, Vice President of government relations for the New Jersey Food Council. They talk about wading into the details of regulations, the effects of some upcoming laws, and tips on building relationships with lawmakers. 

Guest Bio:

Mary Ellen Peppard
Known for her vast industry knowledge and her innate ability to build coalitions, Mary Ellen Peppard is a key player in the New Jersey food processing industry. For the last nine years, Mary Ellen has been with the New Jersey Food Council, where she currently serves as Vice President of Government Relations. At the Food Council, Mary Ellen plays a leadership role in formulating policy positions for legislative strategies on priority issues. She also advocates on behalf of the Council on legislative and regulatory issues that impact the food retail and distribution industry.

Prior to the NJFC, Mary Ellen was Assistant Vice President of Government Relations at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. She has a masters of public affairs and politics from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. Mary Ellen has always been named on numerous lists of top influencers in Trenton and the New Jersey state government. 

Listeners will hear: 

  • NJFCs efforts around workforce development, policymaking, connections within the Departments of Labor and Human Services, and more.
  • Her role in translating the effects and challenges of different policies to lawmakers.
  • Upcoming packaging use laws going into effect soon, balancing all the players, exceptions, and details of the industry.
  • News on the "Bag Up New Jersey" public education campaign.
  • Mary Ellen’s thoughts on how the upcoming election might change the legislature. 
  • Tips to build relationships with your community and legislators before an issue arises. 

Download the Edited Interview Transcript