Minnesota Food Charter Network Future Directions

As you may know, the Minnesota Food Charter Network has become inactive without staff. A Transition Team, composed of former Action Team members, was charged with recommending future directions for statewide collaborative work.

This blog post outlines these recommendations and directions for future work. The recommendations are based, in part, on recommendations from the 2018 Minnesota Food Charter Network Evaluation Report, which notes:

  • Participants in the network recognize the importance of building connectivity across all sectors and groups.
  • Fostering connectivity needs to become more intentional and ongoing.  There is a need to identify and mentor more individuals who are willing to take on leadership and facilitation roles
  • People want to know what other groups across Minnesota are working on.  Gathering and sharing stories about the successes of local, regional, and issue-specific networks and groups should be a focus.

What is Recommended?

After reviewing many existing evaluation documents and attending a National Convening of States with Food System Plans, the Transition Team recommends the following:

  1. A shift in focus to invest in local and regional groups working to improve the food system in Minnesota, focused on collaborative efforts to building connectivity and capacity, particularly across differences and across sectors and scales.
  2. Support the emergence of new leadership, developing skills, connectivity, and experience; with priority on under-represented communities and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
  3. Continue to support connectivity through the existing communications channels, including the Minnesota Food Charter website, social media, and blog.
  4. Set the stage for the next phase of collaborative, statewide work. Statewide, collaborative food-systems work is being re-envisioned, to emphasize equity-based food systems work already being done in communities across the state.  The future of continued collaborative statewide efforts will ultimately be shaped by those who want to work together. 

As new leadership emerges, we hope new funding opportunities to support statewide, collaborative food systems work will become available. Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives will continue to serve as the fiscal host for these activities in the short term, until a new fiscal host(s) is identified.   

What Is the Minnesota Food Charter Network Doing to Support these Recommendations?

So far, the Minnesota Food Charter Network has:

  • Contributed $15,000 of scholarships to the Food Justice Summit to support new leadership, particularly in communities of color.
  • Provided financial support to build leadership and facilitation skills from communities across Minnesota, in partnership with University of Minnesota Extension staff.  More information on the Facilitation and Leadership training can be found at z.umn.edu/foodjustice
  • Pledged financial support for a second cohort to participate in the Action Learning Seed Fund through a shared-gifting process, in partnership with University of Minnesota Extension staff. 
  • Continued to host the Minnesota Food Charter website and promote the amazing food systems work happening across the state through contributions to social media, email, and the website, to further collaboration and peer-learning.

Please contact info@mnfoodcharter.com if you’d like to contribute a story or promote an event on the Minnesota Food Charter Blog or Facebook page!

What is happening with the Minnesota Food Charter?

The Minnesota Food Charter and its companion guides continue to be a shared roadmap to guide policymakers and community leaders with strategies to provide all Minnesotans with access to healthy, safe, and affordable food. For example, the Minnesota Statewide Health Improvement Partnership is organizing work around Food Charter strategies in every Minnesota county. And, nearly 40 cities and counties have used the Food Access Planning to include food systems strategies in local planning for the first time ever. Across the state, we have identified many groups working to implement the 99 strategies laid out in the Minnesota Food Charter (Check out the Minnesota Food Charter Champion Map here!)

The Minnesota Food Charter Network was created to support the growing ecosystem working to implement strategies. The current shift in focus will continue to support the implementation of current Minnesota Food Charter strategies AND allow for new strategies and ideas to take shape. 

How can I stay connected?

The Minnesota Food Charter website will remain active.  Organizations and groups are encouraged to contribute blog posts about their work by emailing info@mnfoodcharter.com