FSLN Evolution: Exploratory Research Project

“Networks thrive when they are open, generative, and resilient.”

– adrienne maree brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

Since its start five years ago, the Food Systems Leadership Network has aspired to flourish as a resilient national network that is driven by members and centered in equity. But figuring out what that looks like in practice, and the action steps that are needed to get there and stay there, takes time. This year, the FSLN Backbone team will be embarking on an exploratory research process to understand how the FSLN might continue to evolve to more fully embody these characteristics: resilient, driven by members, and centered in equity. But we can’t do this without you – the members of the network!

We hope you’ll join us at various points along the way to share your own ideas, experiences, and feedback into this project. Read on for the timeline of this process and how you can get involved.

FSLN Evolution: Phase 1 (Spring – Summer 2023)

The first step along this journey will be a network-wide call to address the following two questions:

  • What are the characteristics of a member driven*, resilient**, equity-centered*** network?
  • What are examples of networks that are embodying one or more of these characteristics, and what practices are they using to do so?

Thank you to all who joined us to brainstorm what it means to be a network member-driven, resilient, and equity-centered.

Explore the notes and insights here

From there, we will engage several network members in a design sprint to distill the information gathered and co-create a process for exploring how the FSLN might evolve to become a more member-driven, resilient, and equity-centered network.

FSLN Evolution: Phase 2 (Summer 2023 – Summer 2024)

Our goal is to better understand where the FSLN is embodying characteristics of a member-driven, resilient, and equity-centered network, where we are falling short, and what actions the network could take to better embody them. We will be engaging a team of five to partner with us over several months to further explore this topic and develop recommendations and action steps for the network. Stay tuned!

If building and sustaining networks is something you are passionate about, if you want to be an integral part of shaping the future of the FSLN, then reach out to [email protected] and we can talk more about how you can get involved.

How we understand key terms: 

*member driven: members’ values, needs, and priorities are reflected throughout all that the network does

**resilient: diverse, adaptive and redundant systems of engaged members, leadership, funding, and ideas

***equity-centered: intentionally and explicitly advances equity, and specifically racial-equity, in all processes and outcomes

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