The movement for equitable food systems is an exceptionally diverse and multigenerational field of food systems leaders with varying perspectives, demographics, geographies, and experience levels. From seasoned experts with a lifetime’s worth of experience to those just entering the field, the diversity of expertise creates unique opportunities to advance the movement. The Food Systems Leadership Network believes in harnessing the power of intergenerational exchange to nurture community leadership and advancing systems change.
Now in its seventh round, the Community Food Systems Mentorship Program provides food systems leaders with the opportunity to closely engage with proven leaders and experts as thought partners and coaches.
Whether you are just embarking on your journey into food systems or are contemplating and considering your future in this field, the exchange of ideas and experience with a dedicated mentor can influence you on profound levels and stay with you for years. Having a trusted partner to provide professional guidance and support, serve as a sounding board, and build connections in the food movement can be incredibly beneficial.
The goals of this program are to:
By providing a safe, supportive, and structured environment, the Mentorship Program cultivates deep, long-lasting, and intergenerational relationships that support emerging leaders to have the fullest impact on their community’s food system and persevere through the inevitable disappointments and frustrations that are part of doing social change work.
We are honored to have such an incredible group of knowledgeable and experienced food systems leaders with a range of expertise as Community Food Systems Mentors. Explore the 2023 Mentor Cohort below and hear from several mentors during our 2022 Mentorship Community Call!
Professor Emerita, NC State University, Former Director, Center for Environmental Farming Systems
Wai’anae Community Re-Development Corporation and the MA’O Community Food Systems Initiative
Participating in this Mentorship Program was extremely valuable. My mentor was able to coach me on my effectiveness as a leader, strategic planning, engagement planning with high level decision makers, even negotiation. She is somebody with amazing amounts of knowledge and experience and I feel incredibly lucky that I was able to spend time with her through the Mentorship Program.
– Spring 2018 Mentee
What to Expect
The Mentorship Program includes 8 hours of one on one connection between you and a mentor over a 4-month period. It’s designed to give you the flexibility to structure the program in a way that best supports your needs, goals, and work environment.
As a mentee, you’ll receive expert guidance and support in a range of leadership capacities and food systems topics. Examples of topics past mentees have discussed with mentors include:
What past mentees had to say:
I learned a great deal through this Mentorship Program and am so grateful for the support I received from my mentor. I am leaving this experience with actionable strategies for improving myself and my organization, as well as a lasting supportive relationship between myself and my mentor.
Having a trusted mentor who I felt totally comfortable being 100% myself with was incredibly helpful and supportive through an intense period of professional growth. There was never any sense of professional formality keeping us from being real with each other, which is a huge part of why the mentorship was such a beneficial experience. The time I took out of my day to connect with my mentor was always reenergizing and made me feel like, I can do this. It’s hard, and I may not feel very confident or like I have all the right tools and skills right now, but I am growing, and I can keep moving forward.
Spring 2023 Mentorship Timeline
Mentorship matches are made in February 2023
Mentorship begins February 2023
Mentorship concludes June 2023
Eligibility and Application Requirements
Information from the 2023 Application Cycle:
Listen to the 2023 Informational Call recording.
Review the 2023 Informational Call Slides.
Check out the Mentorship FAQ for more details.
Explore the 2023 application questions here.