Political advocacy – at the city, state, and federal levels – is one of the most effective ways of achieving lasting systems change in our communities and in our food system. Too often, what “policy work” means and how non-profits, community organizations, and individuals can do it effectively can be opaque and intimidating. And in many cases, the organizations and individuals with the time and resources to advocate for their interests aren’t always rooted in the communities most impacted by policy decisions. It’s long past time to flip that script.
Understanding how policy is written and passed, how it affects our lives and work, and how we can change it is an essential step towards building grassroots power and channeling the massive resources of government to where they will make the most impact. This is especially true in the lead up to the 2023 Farm Bill, which has serious implications for our collective work to transform the food system.
This April, join the Wallace Center’s Food Systems Leadership Network for a virtual series dedicated to building our collective knowledge around policy and advocacy for food systems change. We’ll first be joined by Equity Advocates for two sessions that debunk the misconceptions around nonprofits and advocacy and offer tips for how to get started and stay involved. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition will then walk us through a Farm Bill 101 session as we gear up for the reauthorization of this critical piece of food systems legislation. The series will round out with a dynamic panel discussion featuring seasoned food systems policy leaders who will offer their learnings from decades of food systems advocacy and share their vision for its future.
Session and Registration Information:
Using Advocacy to Build an Equitable and Sustainable Food System with Equity Advocates
April 5 from 1-2pm EST
A useful 101 to get any advocate started! The community and systems-level changes in the food system that many of us are working towards requires public policy. This session will introduce you to the power of and need for advocacy, including why nonprofit staff, community leaders and food systems practitioners can and should be at the policy making table. We will explore the broad range of activities nonprofits can engage in to influence public policy as well as define and differentiate between legislative, regulatory, budgetary and legal advocacy. Finally, the session will include a brief lay of the land in terms of key federal legislation that impacts the food systems and opportunities to engage in advocacy.
Best Practices for Meeting with Elected Officials with Equity Advocates
April 6 from 1-2pm EST
Research shows that engagements with elected officials are an impactful and necessary piece of any organization’s or coalition’s advocacy strategy, but many are intimidated or scared of meeting with policy makers. This training provides an overview of why meeting with elected officials is an effective advocacy strategy. Learn practical tips and skills to prepare advocates, community residents and nonprofit leaders to engage policy makers at the city, state or federal level. We will cover the how to’s- how to schedule, plan for, create impactful materials for, and run a successful meeting with a policymaker or staffer as well as how to leverage these relationships to advance an organization and/or campaign goals. Participants leave with tips for a successful meeting, as well as a sample scheduling email, agenda, talking points, and thank you email to adapt for personal usage.
**Please note you’ll only need to register once to receive join links for both sessions.
Q&A Session with Equity Advocates
April 7 from 1-2pm EST
Space to connect with the trainers to ask questions and troubleshoot challenges. The join link will be sent directly to session registrants.
Farm Bill 101 with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
April 20 at 3pm ET
The 2023 Farm Bill is on its way! This critical legislation has a huge impact on food and farming systems, including allocating funding for many federal food systems grants, like the Local Agriculture Market Program Grants (LFPP, FMPP, RFSP, VAPG), Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, Community Food Projects, and more. Getting involved in shaping the 2023 Farm Bill can ensure that your community’s interests are reflected in USDA programs, but the ins and outs of what that actually looks like can be confusing. Join the Wallace Center and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) for a Farm Bill 101 training on Wednesday, April 20 at 3pm ET to dig into just that!
The Farm Bill 101 training will demystify what the Farm Bill is, how it shapes our farm and food system, and offer strategies for how YOU can get involved in influencing and improving it. We’ll highlight what’s happening in DC, opportunities to drive change, and how to make your voice heard in the process. Following the presentation, we’ll have space for Q&A and for you to share your experiences with influencing and accessing federal programs.
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