The following post is taken from a message I recently posted on the Community Food Security Coalition listserv. I have already heard from a few people and am setting up conversations with them to hear more about what they are doing process and form-wise to advance the work, and look forward to sharing what I learn from them in this space. While the topic of this blog is networks focused on just and sustainable food system development, reactions are welcome from those working on new structures to address other social change issues . . .
IISC currently works with a number of food system-related initiatives around the country, providing process/structure design and facilitation support to collaborative multi-stakeholder approaches to change. As we strive for more healthy, just, sustainable, and community-enriching food systems, part of our role is to hold the stake for the “how” of the work, to ensure that it aligns with the multi-dimensional ends we seek, and to fine-tune this to the essence of the particular geographic and social locale (municipality, state, region).
We are also on the lookout for existing innovative collaborative structures and processes that others are using that strive to do the following:
- ensure ongoing learning and development at all levels;
- make space for unaffiliated individuals and not simply formal organizational representation (the reason being that this can overlook key skills and experiences, and maintain inequities);
- reflect and engage the full diversity of the system (functional, cultural, cognitive);
- bring in “the margins,” the unusual suspects, the historically overlooked;
- maintain a degree of openness and fluidity, with respect to both participants and ideas.
In essence, we are looking for processes and structures that help create the space for us to deliver on our collective potential and to manifest the future we are trying bring into being.
Any thoughts or examples along these lines would be greatly appreciated!
In past posts on this blog, we have posted a few reflections on what we’ve been learning along these lines, if you are interested. Please feel free to extend these and keep the conversation going!