Learning from each other: Local and national network collaborations

I have two pieces of exciting news to share in this month’s From the Director report.  First, at our most recent Strategic Team meeting, we approved the formation of a Food Hub Action Team to explore ways Minnesota’s food hubs can collaborate for a more vibrant future.  Second, the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University has asked the Minnesota Food Charter Network to present as a part of its series “Achieving Food Systems Visions – Past, Present, Future.”

Food Hub Action Team
At the Minnesota Food Charter Network’s July 26th Strategic Team meeting, representatives from a few Minnesota food hubs presented on behalf of a larger group that has been meeting informally for several months with the assistance of the Minnesota Food Charter Network and University of Minnesota Extension.  During those months of working together, its members of have raised issues facing food hubs and researched how other states’ food hubs have networked and worked together in different ways to pool resources, reduce transportation costs, and problem-solve jointly.  Convinced continued work together would show dividends, the group sought and was granted the approval of the Minnesota Food Charter Network’s Strategic Team to become a formal Action Team.

The Team will begin meeting after this year’s farming season passes.  In the meantime, different individuals on the Team will begin researching how collaborative efforts in other states (e.g. Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, and Vermont) might inform Minnesota hubs’ future.

If you’re connected to a Minnesota food hub and would like to join the team, send me an email at dahl0032@umn.edu, and I’ll get you in contact with the Team’s co-facilitators.

Achieving Food Systems Visions – Past, Present, Future
There’s a lot of buzz about the Minnesota Food Charter on a regional and national level.  Seen as visionary roadmap for how all Minnesotans can have reliable access to healthy, affordable, and safe food in the places the work, learn, live, and play, the Center for Regional Food Systems has asked that I present on the behalf of the Minnesota Food Charter Network on four topics:  

  1. developing a vision and structure for food systems work,
  2. facilitating collaboration across food system sectors,
  3. pursuing policy change, and
  4. ensuring equity.

Using examples like our engagement work over the past three years, the efforts of the Cross Agency Working Group and the Shared Measurement Action Team as well as the direction of the Food Access Planning Guide, I’ll address the Center’s questions and share stories about how the Minnesota Food Charter is making a difference in Minnesota.

You can register for the presentation (available remotely) by following this link.