Food Solutions New England (FSNE) is a regional, collaborative network organized to support the emergence and continued viability of a New England food system that is a resilient driver of healthy food for all, racial equity, sustainable farming and fishing, and thriving communities. To do this, we:
FSNE convenes diverse individuals, organizations, and other networks working across the food system to develop a common agenda around shared vision and values.
FSNE cultivates and connects ideas, resources, and leadership that support creative collaborations.
FSNE champions the work of those dedicated to food system change in New England and the need for a values-based and aligned collaborative network to realize our long-term goals.
The FSNE network distinguishes itself from other regional food system efforts by actively cultivating thought leadership around guiding vision and values in the regional food system and network leadership by connecting and aligning the region’s nonprofit, philanthropic, private, and public sector actors focused on our food system. While the explicit focus of the FSNE project is food, it is implicitly a cultural project, one aimed at transforming social norms to orient practices toward a more just and sustainable regional food system. This work is inherently experimental and boundary crossing; as such, it is requires creative, developmental innovation, and a long view.
We pursue projects and activities that are both reflective of our vision and values and responsive to the needs and concerns of the region. As a result, organizations like Farm to Institution New England and Farm Fresh Rhode Island are using A New England Food Vision to guide their work, and networks like Vermont Farm to Plate and Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) are incorporating a racial equity commitment.
Major activities at this time include:
- Strategy Teams: Starting in the spring of 2015, the FSNE Network Team used a food system mapping and analysis process to understand some of the ways in which FSNE could help influence the New England food system toward achieving our vision. FSNE has assembled three teams that will develop strategies in and across the leverage areas that emerged through the mapping process to work toward the development of a unified, multi-year plan for the FSNE network.
- Network Leadership Institute: In addition to the strategy development, FSNE is pursuing a related area of strategic focus – cultivating and connecting leadership across the regional food system. The FSNE Network Leadership Institute which started in 2016 and we aim to offer annually for at least another few years, to generate a cadre of 80-100 diverse leaders and connectors skilled in systems thinking, network and collaborative leadership skills, and strategies for achieving racial equity.
- 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge: The 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge offers resources and prompts to engage individuals and groups in thinking and talking about race, to normalize the conversation about race and racism in a food systems context.
Our past work has included:
- The publication of A New England Food Vision, a collaborative report that considers the future of our region: a future in which food nourishes a social, economic and environmental landscape that supports a high quality of life for everyone, including generations to come.
- Six New England Food Summits, one in each New England state, 2011-2016, which brought together delegates from across New England to strengthen collaboration for regional food system sustainability. These working summits were designed to build upon ongoing efforts across the region to build a more sustainable food system, and to consider regional priorities and action items that we can undertake most effectively together.