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, Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University (MSU)

About Rich: 
I have nearly 40 years of experience in agriculture, food systems, and sustainable agriculture.  Before coming to MSU in 2011 I was at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Iowa for 21 years, where I developed food system programs and ran a state-wide food systems grant program.  Our work at the Center for Regional Food Systems has both a Michigan and national scope.  We have a dozen staff who work in food hubs, farm to institution, farm to early child education, local and state food policy councils, food systems and racial equity, food systems program evaluation, food system workforce assessment, and plant-based organic production systems.

Areas of Expertise

  • Building statewide food system networks 
  • Food systems and racial equity 
  • State and local food policy council development 
  • State food system plans (Michigan Good Food Charter and Iowa Food and Farm Plan) 
  • Organization development
  • Leadership development  

Seeking to Mentor

I am interested in working with food system leaders who are in the first few years of managing/leading their organization, who have an interest and passion in using an equity lens in all aspects of their work.  I believe I can be particularly valuable as a thinking partner in organization and program development, as well as engaging university, state agency, and non-profit partners to develop effective coalitions or networks. 

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