Community Food Systems Mentor Profile: Rich Pirog

The Community Food Systems Mentorship Program offers Network members the opportunity to work directly with a food systems expert to support their growth, learn best practices, and connect with seasoned food movement leaders. 

Rich Pirog, former Director for the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University (MSU) through spring 2022 – currently enjoying life while doing a bit of food systems consulting 

About Rich: 
Rich Pirog is the former director of the Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) at Michigan State University (MSU). He has more than 40 years of experience in agriculture, food systems, sustainable agriculture, network building and leadership development. Before coming to MSU in 2011 he was associate director at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture (Iowa State University) where he developed food system initiatives, statewide food system networks and ran a state-wide food systems grant program. Rich’s passion is working with food system practitioners in organizational management, leadership development, building food system networks, racial equity in the food system, and designing and implementing statewide food system plans and charters. He has been the corresponding author for the first nine editions of the Annotated Bibliography on Structural Racism Present in the U.S. Food System, published by CRFS.

Areas of Expertise

  • Organizational management
  • Leadership development
  • Building food system networks
  • Racial equity in the food system
  • Developing and implementing statewide food system plans and charters

Seeking to Mentor

Interested in working with food system leaders who are in the first few years of their leadership/director role in their organization and want to further develop their ability to manage complexity, tolerate ambiguity, and listen more intently and powerfully.  In previous years I have mentored leaders  at non-profits as well as those working at universities/colleges and/or with Cooperative Extension.

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