VCC Training

Value Chain Coordination: Training Series

We are excited to announce the launch of the first Value Chain Coordination Training Series in Winter 2022!  This five-part online training series is designed for folks doing value chain coordination that want to deepen their knowledge about the strategies, tools, and best practices that guide impactful VCC work. The application to join the 2022 cohort is now closed. We will be offering this training series again in 2023. If you’re interested in offering an abbreviated version of the course at a conference or for a regional group, email [email protected] or [email protected]

In the meantime, we encourage you to join the Value Chain Coordination Community of Practice. This Community of Practice is a place for those doing the multi-faceted work of value chain coordination to connect and build relationships, share knowledge, ideas and innovations, and work through common challenges. We meet monthly, on the third Tuesday of the month from 3-4:15pm EST. Register for the call series here.

Value Chain Coordination – What It Is and Why It Matters

COVID-19 has renewed urgency to build stronger, more resilient, localized and equitable value chains. We know that creating a vibrant local food system requires more than trucks and warehouses. They need trusting relationships, networks, and communications channels to be able to compete with the mainstream system and still commit to equity, transparency, and fairness. Value Chain Coordination (VCC) can help create that “soft infrastructure” that makes a local food system work. People doing VCC work are often market matchmaking, providing technical assistance, and convening stakeholders. This work doesn’t always involve packing boxes or running delivery routes, but is critical to a collaborative and values-based food economy.

Roles of Value Chain Coordination

VCC tools can help us analyze and address structural inequities that are interconnected and often difficult to shift (racial, economic, and social) and for clarifying how power is distributed across a food system. 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

This training series will focus on how to organize and prioritize VCC activities. 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. Participants will gain a clear understanding of the history of this work, tangible steps for coordination in your region, and establish connection to experienced peers and mentors who are performing and supporting VCC work in food systems across the country.

Training Details

Who should take this course?

This training is geared towards food systems practitioners currently engaged in value chain coordination work, whether you use the title “value chain coordinator” or have never even heard the phrase.

This will be a virtual learning cohort composed of individuals and regional groups performing VCC from regions around the U.S. We encourage you to apply with one to three colleagues or partners from your region but you can also apply as an individual. We also are seeking a diverse cohort in terms of the race, gender, experience level, and role of the participants. We anticipate having about 28 total participants.

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 in peer learning by best practices through opportunities within the learning cohort, national CoP platform and national CoP 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 10 week commitment, with 5, two-hour core learning modules.  The course will start on Friday, February 11th and will meet every other Friday from 1 – 3pm EST. The final class will take place on Friday, April 8th. Training participants need to attend all five sessions in order to complete the course.

Module  1:  Foundations of Value Chain Coordination  (Feb. 11th)
Module  2:  Roles of VCC  (Feb. 25th)
Module 3:  Strategies and Partnerships of VCC  (Mar. 11th)
Module 4:  Mapping a Value Chain (Mar. 25th)
Module 5:  Measuring Impact of Value Chain Coordination (Apr. 8th)

Optional office hours will occur from 4-5pm EST on the alternate Mondays on the weeks between classes.

Meet the Trainers…

Sarah Rocker
Sarah Rocker, PhD

Social Research Consulting

Elliott Smith
Elliott Smith

Kitchen Sync Strategies

Sarah Rocker 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 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.

The application to join the 2022 cohort is now closed. We will be offering this training series again in 2023. If you’re interested in offering an abbreviated version of the course at a conference or for a regional group, email [email protected] or [email protected]