The Food Systems Leadership Network’s (FSLN) Community Food Systems Mentorship program is now in its 6th year, supporting a cohort of 24 mentees from across the country!
Everyone needs and deserves access to a sustainable, interconnected food system that provides healthy food, nourishment and economic opportunity – no matter where you live. The FSLN believes in the community-based organizations and enterprises, fueled by thousands of individuals pouring their hearts and souls into this work, are building that reality every day. Too often, though, individuals enter the field of food systems without training or support and do most of their learning on the job. To continue building and retaining talent, and supporting food systems leaders in their journeys of changemaking, there must be more opportunities for personal and professional development. Through the Community Food Systems Mentorship Program, the Food Systems Leadership Network seeks to address this gap by investing in and strengthening the next generation of leaders.
The Mentorship program cultivates deep, long-lasting, and intergenerational relationships that support emerging leaders to reach their greatest potential and have the fullest impact on their community’s food system.
This year, we are excited to partner with eight FSLN Mentors, seasoned leaders with at least 15 years of food systems experience, to cultivate the next generation of leaders by sharing what they have learned along the way. Mentors are matched with community leaders based on their expertise and interests, and each Mentor-Mentee pair works together over a period of 4 months. By investing in these relationships, the FSLN is facilitating the transfer of knowledge, ideas, and resources, creating a world in which local communities have the resources, relationships and power to fully realize a racially-just, resilient and dynamic system for producing, consuming and distributing food.
To date the mentorship program has supported 163 leaders with 1,300 hours of 1-1 support and engaged 19 seasoned leaders as mentors. The 24 mentees in this year’s cohort are working on everything from supporting immigrant farmers implementing conservation agriculture practices to offering subsidized CSA shares and supporting communities from across the country. Learn more about the 2023 mentorship cohort and their innovative work below!
Executive Director, Red Tomato
Check out the three mentees working with Angel in 2023.
The Kansas City Food Hub
Kansas City, KS
Community Alliance with Family Farmers
Santa Cruz, CA
Farmer, Advocate, Rise and Root Farm
Below are the mentees working with Karen this year.
Ark Republic & Black Farmers’ Index
La Semilla Food Center
El Paso, TX
California Certified Organic Farmers
Executive and Programs Director, Wai’anae Community Re-Development Corporation and the MA’O Community Food Systems Initiative
Below are the mentees working with Kukui.
University of Hawaii at Manoa Cooperative Extension
Director/Founder of CASA del Llano, INC
Lydia will be mentoring the following mentees.
NWI Food Council
Jon Henry General Store
New Market, VA
Co-Founder and Executive Director, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
Malik will work with the mentees below.
Earth’s Garden LLC
Nurturing Our Seeds, Detroit Food Academy
Operation Food Search, Hunger Relief
St. Louis, MO
Principal, Kitchen Table Consulting
See the mentees that will be working with Miles below!
Hui Mala Ai
Prescott Farmers Market
Blue Cross and Blue Shield/WK Kellogg Distinguished Professor Emerita, NC State University and former CEFS Director, NC State University.
Check out who Nancy will be mentoring.
Desert Farming Initiative
FairShare CSA Coalition
West Virginia University, Health Affairs Institute
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
Rich will work with the following leaders in 2023.
The Common Market
Sustainable Food Center
ValleyHub Manager at Kalamazoo Valley Community College