As we approach the end of the year, we invite you to learn more about the Food Solutions New England (FSNE) network activities in 2016 and think about how you can get involved in 2017:
Putting the Vision to Work
In March, we launched a new website, dedicated to exploring A New England Food Vision, a collaborative report that calls for our region to build the capacity to produce at least 50% of clean, just, and accessible food for all who live in New England by 2060. The Vision continues to inspire organizations and networks as they develop guiding frameworks and strategic plans and spark new conversations and opportunities for collaboration, and is featured regularly at events across the region, including the Boston Local Food Festival in September and the Maine Farmland Access Conference in December.
Working for Racial Equity
As part of our commitment to racial equity and food justice in the food system, we hosted our 2nd annual 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge in April to promote dialogue on race and equity. Over 1000 people from around the country signed up to further their understanding of and ability to address racism, and many more participated as part of a group or on their own. FSNE Network Team members also presented about the Challenge to expand the discussion, including at the White Privilege Symposium in October. Check out our resource list for continued learning and save the date for the 2017 Challenge: April 9-29!
The 6th in a series of annual New England Food Summits was held in June in Bridgeport, CT. At the Summit, we shared about the FSNE Network Team’s system mapping process and the “leverage areas” (see below for more details) that were revealed through the process. We then explored case studies to ground the leverage areas in work already happening in our region. Read more about the Summit in these news stories.
In September, FSNE launched its Network Leadership Institute. We recruited 17 diverse, highly motivated food system leaders from across the region to help grow the skills and networks needed to advance the growing alignment around a shared vision and values for our New England food system. Institute participants are already taking action to collaborate with one another and the broader FSNE network, and are applying the skills they’ve been learning at their home organizations. We hope to offer this Institute again in 2017, pending funding.
From System Map to Strategy
In November 2015, the FSNE Network Team completed the 1st phase of a system mapping process, identifying key “leverage areas” where our collaborative action can have its greatest impact. Over the course of 2016, we have been preparing for the next phase of the process, including developing strategy and action plans for each of three areas: democratic empowerment, linking knowledge with a new food system narrative, and making the business case for food economies that are vibrant, equitable, and ecologically sound. Read more.
Communication and Collaboration
Stay in touch, find out what’s going on around the region, and let us know what you’re working on through our website, Facebook, and twitter.
Our blog posts covered a variety of topics related to the network and our regional food system including:
Network Leadership Institute participant Shannon Grimes’ post, building on her session at the Summit, on Maine Farmland Trust’s programs to connect farmers, local food retailers, and low-income consumers—for the benefit of all
Network Leadership Institute participant and Food Chain Worker Summit Delegate Lin Geng's post on his work with the Pioneer Valley Workers Center fighting wage theft
Network Facilitator Curtis Ogden’s post on a FSNE event with the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts - Making the Business Case for A New England Food Vision: Creating Conditions that Support Diverse Food-related Enterprises
Our Stories and Inspiration page highlights included Debbie Sims, a “Trailblazer” Summit Delegate who has been working for many years to bring a full service grocery store into her neighborhood in the East End of Bridgeport, which currently lacks access to healthy, fresh food.