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This resource provides a summary of findings from a national survey exploring the interests and educational needs related to K–12 and ECE-based local food incentive programs.
Completed in August of 2021, this report offers a snapshot of national trends, and a directory of food systems plans and charters that exist at state and regional levels across the United States (see the directory at the end of this document). It is intended to serve as a resource to facilitate network building and co-learning among practitioners leading these efforts and groups interested in launching their own plans and charters. We collected information from plans and charters that are publicly available on websites, and — to the extent possible — followed up with lead organizations or individuals to review information1 relevant to their state. We looked for plans and charters that: a)are systems-based and cross-sector (covering the entire food system), b)propose visions beyond 2021 or that are currently being updated (e.g., the 2005 California plan proposed avision of the food system into 2030), and c)were participatory and collaboratively developed (those that crowdsourced ideas and attempted to mobilizestakeholders throughout the state using numerous strategies such as summits, working groups, etc.).
As Collective Impact (CI) gains popularity across food systems change efforts, few scholars and practitioners have evaluated whether this collaborative social-change framework is well suited to food systems work. We begin to answer this question based on our own experience applying a CI model to support statewide goals established in the Michigan Good Food Charter. Our reflections are based on the project's evaluation findings, internal staff discussions about their CI-based efforts, discussions with other food systems practitioners using CI, and a review of emerging literature wherescholars and practitioners evaluate or reflect on facilitating a CI initiative. The Michigan experience largely corroborates what is emerging in the broader criticisms of CI: that limited guidance exists about how to implement various elements of the model, that CI is relatively silent on policy advocacy, and that, unless intentionally integrated, it has the potential to exacerbate, rather than address, inequities. However, our experience and that of other food systems practitioners also suggest that it is possible to transcend these limitations. We argue that groups expecting to make significant improvements to food systems can turn to CI as one of many social-change models that can guide their work, but only if lead organizations have the capacity to build trust and relationships between stakeholders and if they can thoughtfully integrate strategies for ensuring policy- and equity-based change.
Local food advocates are increasingly joining together to form state and multi-state initiatives to strengthen food systems on a broader scale than has been possible in the past. Many of these efforts are built around the concept of collective impact, the idea that organizations representing diverse sectors must actively commit to a common agenda to solve complex social problems.Michigan joined this trend in 2009 when three organizations – the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS), the Food Bank Council of Michigan, and the Michigan Food Policy Council – came together to develop a vision and set of goals for the state's food system. These efforts resulted in the release of the Michigan Good Food Charter in 2010.Since then, a steering committee has emerged to guide the work, and a suite of state networks formed to push for food system change in specific sectors and communities. Now in 2015, there is a desire to understand the impact of the work on a deeper level and measure change in a way that furthers the capacity of and coordination between partner organizations.A team of researchers from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University carried out this national scan of similar initiatives from across the country to position the Michigan work on a national level. This report shares our survey findings.This "national scan" is one component of a larger, indepth evaluation of the Michigan Good Food Charter work at CRFS. Due to resource and time constraints, this report offers only an initial glimpse into some of the many – and ever- expanding – networked food systems initiatives around the country.
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