Spring Newsletter 2024

NAFSN is honored to work alongside these 12 lead organizations as they pilot the new CARAT tool in their communities in 2024: Hilltown Community Development (MA), Frederick County Food Council (MD), Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust (NY), County of Santa Clara (CA), Urban Seeds (IN), Erie County Department of Health (PA), Homegrown Hillsborough (FL), New Jersey Food Democracy Collaborative (NJ), Marion Institute Southcoast Food Policy Council (MA), A Better Chance A Better Community (NC), Washington Gleaning Network (WA), Iowa Food System Coalition (IA).

The Community & Agriculture Resilience Audit Tool (CARAT) helps community stakeholders assess how they currently utilize the assets of their local food system to achieve a substantial level of community resilience. CARAT is free and open-access, available for any community seeking to produce a practical, easy-to-share, baseline assessment from which to identify priorities and monitor improvements over time.

Your community can use CARAT too!! 
Sign up for a free CARAT Information Session. The next one is June 13, 12pm-1pm ET.
We welcomed 12 new members into the ACRE Community of Practice this spring!  

AgriCluster Resilience and Expansion - or ACRE for short - is a comprehensive, professionally-facilitated strategic planning process. By identifying shared concerns, shared histories, shared values, shared opportunities, and developing a strategic work plan, ACRE helps local and regional groups of food producers and their stakeholder allies - including food handlers, food processors and packagers, distributors, and retailers, as well as nonprofit and municipal agents - work together more effectively.

NAFSN recognizes that good facilitation is a critical skill set needed for communities seeking to strengthen local food value chains.

The ACRE Facilitator Training is an 18-part, asynchronous, online course that provides instruction specifically designed for food and agriculture systems professionals. The course takes about 10 hours to complete. Those who seek ACRE Certification will also complete an exam and a practicum. 

The course is free to NAFSN members, and we encourage community-based nonprofits as well as those in higher education to consider offering the course as professional development.
Attend a free ACRE Information Session to learn more. The next one is May 21, 3pm-4pm ET.
Our Community Food Systems Employment Data project (COM*FED) seeks to better understand the evolving roles of this critical-change workforce. Using the combined tools of job description data analysis and surveys, COM*FED strives to make visible the collective impact of community food systems practitioners' work roles in developing more resilient, equitable and healthful local and regional food systems.

Key to this project is the management of the NAFSN's Jobs Board. We are pleased to announce that, as of this month, we have posted more than 800 employment opportunities in community food systems work, and we are well on our way to reaching our goal of 2400+ this year. 

Using insights from this project, we also offer one-hour Career Coaching sessions free to NAFSN members
Contact us to learn more!
We are deeply grateful to the twelve community-based food systems professionals who shared their valuable insights during our sixth season of "Finding Your Future in Food Systems": Roberta Cosentino of The Best Route (PA), Justin Barclay of the Rodale Institute (PA), Zachary Korosh of The Ohio State University, Knowlton School (OH), Delaney Gobster of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies (WI), Kathia Ramirez of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance (NJ), Ben Rasmussen of the National Center for Frontier Communities (NM), Marion Mosby of Tennessee State University SNAP-Ed (TN), David Gianino of the VA Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (VA), Raghela Scavuzzo of Illinois Farm Bureau (IL), Joe Sewall of Central Coast Food Web (OR), Nathalie America Muñoz of the Berkeley Food Institute (CA) and Lina Ghanem of Saba Grocers Initiative (CA).

You can view recordings of those episodes here.

We are now planning the 7th series of episodes of Finding Your Future in Food Systems.
Contact us if you know a someone with a great story to tell that would help emerging professionals find their way into community food systems work.
Check out these new benefits offered by NAFSN members to NAFSN members:

* Professional Resume Services - Rachel Evenson offers a 15% discount on resume writing, reviewing, and consulting services to NAFSN members.

* Mentorship Guidance - Brian Raison, author of The Encouraging Mentor," supports a book give-away on mentorship during our FYFFS webinar series this year.

* New Farmer Training - New Entry at Tufts University offers a 10% discount on their Crop Production and/or Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture courses to NAFSN members.

* Community Food Systems Consultants Forum - Sagdrina Jalal of Sage D Consulting provides leadership for this evolving effort in 2024.

We've recently added these featured resources for community food systems professionals to our website:

* A Local Food Business Guide: Online SNAP/EBT, presented by Local Food Marketplace

* The Transcendent Farmer Podcast, presented by Mezclada
We are ever so grateful to the members of our Leadership Circle who have guided strategic planning for NAFSN over the last six months. As a result of this highly intentional and collaborative work, NAFSN is now a project of the Center for Transformative Action (CTA). Read about CTA's 50+ years of social justice work here. We encourage all members to consider ways in which they'd like to get involved in NAFSN's mission with CTA's guidance.
NAFSN is a professional association of people working to strengthen local & regional food systems. NAFSN is member-led and member-driven.
What drives our collective work? 

At NAFSN, our mission stems from our collective knowledge that the world’s dominant food structures have undermined the well being of Earth and all its inhabitants, including humans. Urgent issues related to food and agriculture that reduce the resilience of communities include:

According to the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, effective solutions to these issues "will address the interrelated challenges across both food and nutrition security and climate change and work towards transforming national and global food systems. This work will include strategies to promote local and regional food systems, which have been shown to reduce food waste, support local economics, increase the biodiversity, freshness, and nutritional value of foods, and reduce food insecurity."

NAFSN knows that this workforce requires unique skills, science-based knowledge, and trust-based networks. We offer learning and networking opportunities for practitioners at all career points (emerging, transitional, seasoned) to help this workforce become better known, valued, and engaged in driving meaningful change at the community level. We continue to work alongside our sister affiliate, the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, to connect practitioners to research. We lean toward newcomers, and honor lived experiences and activism as cornerstones of this profession.

Join today.