NAFSN Frequently Asked Questions
A Founding Member of NAFSN is an individual who joined on or before December 31, 2015. Benefits of Founding membership include:
- Receive discount membership dues, including a 5% discount in perpetuity;
- Participate in structuring the organization, including joining committees and selecting the inaugural board of directors; and
- Participate in the early planning of programs such as the NAFSN certification program.
NAFSN is currently a project of the Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture and Food Systems. NAFSN has a temporary and organic organizational structure that includes a steering committee facilitated by Duncan Hilchey and a working group that provides feedback to the steering committee. Duncan Hilchey is co-coordinator of the Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture, a project of the Center for Transformative Action, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Cornell University in Ithaca, New York USA.
In 2016, the Founding Members of NAFSN will select its first board of directors, and will incorporate separately from the Lyson Center. From then on, the board of directors will be in charge.
NAFSN started with a very small project budget provided by the Lyson Center, along with in-kind support from Lyson Center staff and the many members of the steering committee and working group. Membership fees will contribute most of the revenue to NAFSN in 2016. However, we anticipate leveraging these limited resources to secure financial sponsorships and public and private grants to develop programs over time. Our hope is to be lean, efficient, and sustainable over time and not be grant-dependent.
JAFSCD is published by the Lyson Center, as NAFSN is currently a project of the Lyson Center. A membership benefit for NAFSN members is a free subscription to JAFSCD. However, note that NAFSN and JAFSCD have separate websites. To receive your free subscription, use the coupon code listed in the confirmation email you receive after joining NAFSN. If you are already a JAFSCD subscriber, log in to your account (at www.AgDevJournal.com) and use the coupon code to extend your subscription by a full year!
The NAFSN Steering Committee developed the following mission statement at its June 2015 meeting:
The mission of the North American Food Systems Network is to support equitable and sustainable food systems by:
(1) creating opportunities for professional growth for food systems development practitioners;
(2) identifying and encouraging best practices;
(3) expanding applied research on food systems; and
(4) developing tools, methods, and programs to build the capacity of communities to engage in food system innovations.
However, founding members will refine and adopt the final language at our first annual meeting in spring 2016.
NAFSN launched its founding member campaign on October 13, 2015. However, it has been in conceptual development for a number of years, after a survey of self-identified food systems development practitioners showed strong demand for a professional community of practice. Read the NAFSN White Paper for more background details.
It is a cliché to say you will get out of membership what you put into it, but there is some truth this idea. One can pay for membership and wait for things to happen, or become engaged — volunteering for committees, voting, taking advantage of training discounts, and participating in communities of practice (CoPs). Our hope and expectation are that as a result of these activities, you will improve your employment prospects, your effectiveness, your contacts, and your satisfaction with work in food systems.
The development of the Certification Program is underway; components may be rolled out in 2017. The criteria for the certification program will be developed by a team of experienced food systems development professionals and curriculum development experts. It is likely to consist of credits for participation in workshops and the like provided by our partner organizations around the continent, supplemented as necessary by online, self-paced modules and exercises developed by NAFSN. A "fast track" certification process may be developed for NAFSN members with considerable experience (to be defined) or training.
NAFSN Mentors are members who have exceptional experience or success and have agreed to provide advice and support to other NAFSN members on a limited basis and specific time frame. Mentors may be able to earn continuing education credits by providing their junior colleagues with this advice and support. For more details, click HERE.
The (Sustainable) Farm-Friendly Community Certification Program is a proposed program in collaboration with other organizational partners to build community capacity to support locally/regionally oriented food producers. With so much else going on at NAFSN, this is on the back burner for now. However, interested members can join the ongoing working group developing the concept.