The FSLN hosts topical Communities of Practice to connect individuals, facilitate knowledge exchange, and build solidarity and community across the network. Through monthly calls, and an online discussion group, network members can build relationships while strengthening their knowledge around specific topics.
About Communities of Practice
What is a Community of Practice?
A Community of Practice (CoP) is a group of people connected by a shared interest, concern, or passion whose collective purpose is to build a strong network of relationships, increase skills and knowledge, and develop solutions towards common goals.
While the organizations and people in the Food Systems Leadership Network are geographically dispersed, they are united by shared efforts to create more sustainable, just, and equitable food systems. Creating avenues for FSLN members to learn what people in other regions are doing, to understand national trends, and improve efforts by gaining critical knowledge, skills, and resources is crucial for the success of individual and collective efforts.
Communities of Practice at the FSLN
CoPs are a great space to share your knowledge or explore an area you might be less familiar with. Each FSLN CoP has its own goals, meeting schedule, and facilitation plan, as determined by CoP participants. In most cases, these CoPs are open to all network members, though others may emerge from specific trainings or cohorts, and may remain closed to that group. CoPs are typically co-facilitated by an FSLN backbone team member of Wallace Center staff an FSLN member.
Community of Practice vs. Discussion Group
The FSLN’s online platform has several topical Discussion Groups for network members to ask questions, share resources, and troubleshoot together. While these are great forums for ad hoc questions and to archive resources, Communities of Practices offer space for people to convene virtually, making it easier to build relationships and explore a topic more in depth. In many cases, the FSLN’s Communities of Practices are aligned and connected with the Discussion Groups and open to any number of FSLN members.
We invite you to explore, join, and engage with your peers via the CoPs that are right for you!
*Note: To join a Community of Practice, you will need to login or register for an account at www.foodsystemsleadershipnetwork.org/register
FSLN Communities of Practice
Food Safety and Quality Community of Practice
Lead facilitators: Elizabeth Atwell (Wallace Center) and Phil Britton (Fresh Systems, LLC)
Purpose: The Food Safety and Quality Community of Practice is a space for practitioners that are helping farm and food businesses access scale-appropriate, culturally-appropriate food safety trainings, technical assistance, and audit services. If you are interested in starting a GroupGAP process, are confused by FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) water-testing requirements, or want to know how to talk to buyers or farmers about food safety – this group is for you.
Schedule: First Wednesday of each month, 1 – 2:30pm EST
Value Chain Coordination Community of Practice
Lead facilitators: Elizabeth Atwell (Wallace Center) and Ellie Bomstein (Wallace Center)
Purpose: Value Chain Coordination is the development of soft infrastructure, like relationships, networks and information sharing channels, that creates thriving and sustainable regional food economies. The VCC Community of Practice is a place for those doing the multi-faceted work of value chain coordination to connect and build relationships, share knowledge, ideas and innovations, and work through common challenges.
Schedule: Third Tuesday of the month, 3-4:15pm EST
Contact: [email protected]
Network Stewards Community of Practice
Lead facilitators: Annalina Kazickas (Wallace Center) and Shawn Peterson (Association of Gleaning Organizations)
Purpose: The Network Stewards CoP is a space for people who lead and manage food systems networks, alliances, councils, and similar entities to come together and build relationships with each other, troubleshoot network development challenges, and brainstorm strategies for creating and sustaining impactful networks.
Schedule: Second Wednesday of the month, 4-5:15pm ET
How to join: Register here
Farm to Food Assistance Community of Practice
Lead facilitators: Ellie Bomstein (Wallace Center) in partnership with FSLN members Andy Ollove (Fresh Approach) and Eva Agudelo (Farm Fresh Rhode Island)
Purpose: The Farm to Food Assistance Community of Practice is a space for those providing healthy, affordable, and/or free meals to underserved communities while continuing to compensate farmers fairly to come together, share learnings, and access technical assistance. For more information on farm to food assistance, check out the FSLN page here.
Schedule: Second Thursday of the month, 3:00-4:15pm ET
Contact: [email protected]