Wallace Center at Winrock launches food systems leadership network

Program to provide opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and support.

The Wallace Center at Winrock International recently launched the Food Systems Leadership Network (FSLN). Through an online platform and offline programs, the community of practice will empower and connect nonprofit organizations and staff working to transform their communities through food. FSLN fosters the growth of America’s next generation of food leaders by enabling individuals and organizations to learn cutting-edge program strategies and share resources.

FSLN offers members the opportunity to apply for:

  • Organizational capacity building mini-grants;
  • Professional development scholarships;
  • Community food systems mentorship program, and
  • Food systems leadership retreats.

“Since 1983, the Wallace Center has been fostering the development and growth of local and regional food systems,” said John Fisk, director of the Wallace Center. “We have increasingly come to appreciate the crucial role of the nonprofit sector in moving this work forward. The Food Systems Leadership Network is our newest innovation for supporting these change-makers and building their capacity to transform the food system in their communities and across the country.”

Facilitated by the Wallace Center at Winrock International, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, FSLN provides members with opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and support, organizational and management capacity building, professional development and resource sharing. This community of practice allows members across America to learn from each other and collaborate on common goals.

“At the Kellogg Foundation, we know that communities have the knowledge and leadership they need to address their challenges,” said Linda Jo Doctor, program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “We are so excited about the opportunity for activating community power and learning that this network presents.”

The Wallace Center invites the many networks, organizations and individuals working in or with nonprofit, community-based food systems organizations to share their knowledge, engage with colleagues and partner with the center as it creates a national network dedicated to strengthening the good food movement and all those working within it.

“Our intention is to create opportunities for lifting up the brilliant and innovative food systems work happening in communities across the country and to facilitate collaboration among colleagues in the nonprofit sector,” Wallace Center program officer Susan Schempf said.

The Mentorship Program will match emerging leaders with experienced, nationally recognized leaders in the good food movement, like Anupama Joshi, founder of the National Farm to School Network, and Malik Yakini, founder and executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. Mentors bring a wide range of expertise in organizational effectiveness, racial and food justice, community-based food systems and leadership development. The Mentorship Program will foster America’s future food leaders through collaboration, knowledge sharing and a nationwide professional network.

Leadership retreats will be offered to a larger group of individuals and will include two days of intense leadership training facilitated by systems-thinking experts. Members will deepen their knowledge of the systems-thinking approach and will learn how to apply it to their work.

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