VCC Training

Foundations of Value Chain Coordination Training Series

Next Cohort Starts June 2023!

We are excited to announce the upcoming Foundations of Value Chain Coordination Training Intensive happening in Spring 2023! This five-part online training series is designed for folks doing value chain coordination (VCC) that want to deepen their knowledge about the strategies, tools, and best practices that guide impactful VCC work. The application to join the 2023 cohort is now open. Applications are open through May 5th. Click here to apply!

Hear what former training participants have to say:

I’m in awe of the energy that I felt in the course. This is a brand new way to looking at the work we are doing. It is going to serve me and all of us well going forward.  

This is the first time I am learning about a lot of this stuff. I feel like a fire has been lit to learn more about value chain coordination. I want to keep community with all of the wonderful folks doing this work and feel that will be a lasting effect of this course.  

The training provided an excellent background on Value Chain Coordination, from terminology to evaluation and resources to use in the future as well as opportunities to network. It helped me to conceptualize how my work fits into the larger food system and how I can evaluate power dynamics and equity in my current capacity and beyond.

Value Chain Coordination – What It Is and Why It Matters

COVID-19 and its aftermath has renewed urgency to build stronger, more resilient, localized and equitable value chains. Creating vibrant local food systems requires that we invest in the physical infrastructure like farms, food hubs, trucks and warehouses. But in order to compete with the industrial food system in a way that prioritizes equity, transparency and fairness, we also need investment in the human infrastructure that builds trusting relationships and resilient networks of support. Value Chain Coordination (VCC) creates the “social infrastructure” that makes a local food system work. People doing value chain coordination build relationships among diverse actors across the food value chain in their region by performing roles like market matchmaking, providing technical assistance, and convening stakeholders. This work doesn’t always involve packing boxes or running delivery routes, but is just as critical to building a collaborative and profitable values-based food economy.

Roles of Value Chain Coordination

Value Chain Coordination: Building and Shifting Power

What makes value chains different than supply chains? The answer is in the name: values. A key part of doing impactful value chain coordination work is analyzing and helping to address structural inequities in our food economies that unevenly distribute power and resources and recklessly pursue profit over people and planet. But how do you know if the work you’re doing is affecting real change or who is benefiting from that change? How do you know where to focus your attention with so many competing priorities? Honing your skills in value chain coordination can help address power imbalances in your community’s food system, create a stronger and more resilient web of businesses and organizations, and help orient your energy towards transformative, systemic change.

VCC Training Intensive Overview

You will leave this training with:

  • a robust understanding of the foundational terms and concepts of VCC,
  • frameworks for understanding the roles of VCC and how they apply to your work,
  • an ability to identify strategic leverage points within your value chain,
  • tools to prioritize and evaluate your VCC activities to best create scalable, sustainable change,
  • skills to understand how power works in the food system, and how to help redistribute it,
  • relationships with friends, peers and mentors from across the country.

Our goal is to help you develop more resilient place-based economies that support whole communities, not just those who benefit from the status quo.

Training Details

Who should take this course?

This course is designed for people who are building relationships and networks to strengthen market access for farmers and increase the availability of local food. If you have been working on making connections between producers and buyers, convening local food systems actors, providing technical assistance, or innovating new ideas, this course is for you! 

This will be a virtual learning cohort composed of individuals performing VCC from regions around the U.S. We also are seeking a diverse cohort in terms of the race, age, gender, experience level, and VCC role. To ensure a racially diverse cohort, we will be prioritizing applicants who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color.

Participants of this course will also be invited to join the national VCC Community of Practice.  Throughout the course participants will be encouraged to share their learnings within the learning cohort, Community of Practice platform and national Community of Practice webinar series.

The development and delivery of this course is funded through the Wallace Center’s 2020 USDA LFPP grant and the training is free to all participants.

Timing and Time Commitment:

This course is a five-week commitment, and we think that the course will require 3-4 hours of dedicated time per week. Class participants will be required to watching 1-2 pre-recorded training modules (about 10 minutes each) prior to the start of each class. The course will start on Wednesday, June 14th and will meet every Wednesday, from 3-5pm ET, skipping the first week of July. The final class will take place on Wednesday, July 19th.

Training participants need to commit to attend all five sessions and watch all course content in order to complete the training. Due to the fact that demand for this training is far higher than the number of participants we can accommodate, we ask that you only apply if you can commit to fully participating in the course.


Module  1:  Foundations of Value Chain Coordination  (June 14th)
Module  2:  Roles of VCC  (June 21st)
Module 3:  Strategies and Partnerships of VCC  (June 28th)
Module 4:  Mapping a Value Chain (July 12th)
Module 5:  Measuring Impact of Value Chain Coordination (July 19th)

Applications are due by 5pm PT on Friday, May 5th. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected] with “VCC Training” in the subject line and we’ll do our best to get back to you ASAP.  

Meet the Trainers…

Sarah Rocker
Sarah Rocker, PhD

Social Research Consulting

Elliott Smith
Elliott Smith

Kitchen Sync Strategies

With Support From…

Elizabeth Atwell
Elizabeth Atwell

Wallace Center

Ellie Bomstein
Ellie Bomstein

Wallace Center

Andrew Carberry
Andrew Carberry

Wallace Center

Sarah Rocker (she/her) is an independent food systems consultant with over 15 years in the field (and fields!) – She’s worn many hats from producing, to market management, local policy and research. As a rural sociologist for the past 7 years, Sarah has focused her research on Value Chain Coordination as a place-based development strategy for supporting small to mid-scale and niche markets in local and regional food systems.

Elliot Smith (he/him) launched Kitchen Sync Strategies in 2019, as a consulting and brokerage company working to build fairer food economies that nourish people and the planet. As its CEO, Elliott works with suppliers and buyers to develop regional value chain networks that help people and institutions be in relationships with their food.

Elizabeth Atwell (all pronouns) has over a decade of experience working to support the development of thriving regional food systems. As a Project Manager with the Wallace Center, her efforts focus on facilitating the Food Systems Leadership Network and collaboratively leading efforts to research, support, and advocate for systems-levels solutions to creating resilient and equitable community-based food systems.

Ellie Bomstein (she/her) has been advocating for local food systems since 2013. She is a Project Manager at the Wallace Center, where she serves on the backbone team of the Food Systems Leadership Network providing support to people working to transform the food system in their communities.

Andrew Carberry (he/him) is a Project Manager at the Wallace Center at Winrock International where he serves on the Food Systems Leadership team. He helps to create dynamic programming for the Food Systems Leadership Network and leads evaluation efforts for the network.