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Growing the Impact: Building Capacity for Statewide and Regional Food System Plans

from North Dakota Local Food Development Alliance

NDLFDA is participating in a “community of practice” for local food systems policy councils in the north central states.

It is organized by Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems and funded by a North Central SARE Professional Development Program grant.

We are one of at least nine states participating including Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, etc.

The goal is to create a professional development community of practice among those who are working to develop food systems plans/charters in their states. Participants in food system plan/charter efforts – such as extension educators, farmers, food hub managers, local food council members, statewide food, agriculture, health networks and organizations, and local and state policymakers and agency staff – will increase their knowledge and capacity to conduct their work with an equity lens and build their networks to engage in cross-state collaboration to strengthen local and regional food systems.

Representing NDLFDA in this group are Stephanie Blumhagen, Board Chair (FARRMS), Jan Stankiewicz, (NDSU Extension), and Ann Olson (Strengthen ND).

This community of practice will hold four workshops,  with at least 1 workshop this year, and 3 in 2023. The primary audience is people currently working on or interested in working on state food system plans. Workshops could take various forms. E.g. farmer guest speaker, focused discussion, etc.

We will make sure NDLFDA members know about these workshops and can participate. There's a lot to be gained by meeting with peopel from other states doing the same work we are doing. It helps to know that other states face similar challenges, or to gain inspriation seeing what is possible.

Project leaders interviewed 1 farmer each from MO, KS, MN, IN, OH to ensure they were including a farmer perspective.

If you'd like to view the notes from our first planning meeting, including the responses from the farmer interviews they are here: