Tag Archive: Facebook

October 7, 2019

Participatory Methods and Approaches for Equitable Food Systems Work

“Nothing about us without us is for us.”

South African slogan

“What is missing from the policy analyst’s tool kit – and from the set of accepted, well-developed theories of human organization – is an adequately specified theory of collective action whereby a group of principals can organize themselves voluntarily to retain the residuals of their own efforts.”

Elinor Ostrom (1996) Governing the Commons

“…there’s no real evidence that one can become expert in something as broad as ‘decision making’ or ‘policy’ or ‘strategy.’ Auto repair, piloting, skiing, perhaps even management: these are skills that yield to application, hard work, and native talent. But forecasting an uncertain future and deciding the best course of action in the face of that future are much less likely to do so. And much of what we’ve seen so far suggests that a large group of diverse individuals will come up with better and more robust forecasts and make more intelligent decisions than even the most skilled ‘decision maker.’”

James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds

Last week I had the opportunity to facilitate a workshop for one of the sub-networks of the Vermont Farm to Plate Network focused on food access (including food justice and racial equity). Farm to Plate is moving into a second decade of work and looking to refresh its strategic work and structure (version 2.0). As part of this move, various members are interested in how they can engage others more robustly and/or responsibly in their work, including those who are negatively impacted by the current system (those living with hunger and in poverty, struggling farmers, farm workers, indigenous people, etc.). The workshop was designed around some core IISC collaborative frameworks, which participants applied to their work in pairs and small groups, and it also elicited different participatory methods that those in the room were already using or aware of.

One of the operating assumptions in the workshop was that engagement and participation can and should look different in different situations, and that more is not necessarily better. Rather, it is important to get clear on the aims of an initiative, carefully consider who the key stakeholders are, weigh various factors (time, complexity, readiness, power dynamics, etc.) and think about timing and different phases of the work. Doing this kind of due diligence can help to clarify when and where on a spectrum of engagement options different individuals and groups might fall (see below for some examples).

For the last segment of the workshop, we explored a variety of participatory models and methods, and here is some of what came up (specifically considering the context of Vermont food systems work).

Organizational/Network Models:

Tools, Techniques, Roles:

Governance/Decision-Making:

Participatory Planning and Assessment Approaches:

Of course there are many others out there. Please feel free to suggest additional models, examples, techniques and tools!

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May 10, 2016

Racial Equity Habit Building 2.0

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This year for the second time, IISC partnered with Food Solutions New England in designing and facilitating the 21 Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge as an extension of both organizations’ commitment to realizing racial justice.

Last year, this networked remix of an exercise created by Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. and Debby Irving, was offered as a way of spreading commitment to learning about, talking about and taking action to solve racial injustices in the food and other related systems. This year, additional tools and virtual platforms were added to create a more robust environment for learning. This included:

  • an even richer resource page with readings, videos and organizational links,
  • a blogroll of daily prompts with links to resources and room for participants to offer written reflections,
  • a series of original blog posts on the FSNE website committed to relevant topics and themes
  • a Twitter hashtag (check out #FSNEEquityChallenge)
  • a group Facebook page

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March 5, 2015

Racial Equity Habit Building, Networked

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Two years ago, the Food Solutions New England (FSNE) Network Team, with support from IISC, committed to putting racial equity at the center of its work in trying to bring the six state region together around a vision of a more sustainable food system. Since formalizing that commitment with more than 150 delegates at last year’s annual Food Summit, and taking it to other food system-focused networks by invitation, the FSNE Network Team has faced the big question – Now what? How to deliver on this commitment and in a regional context? At the very least we continue to deepen our learning around and commitment to equity, modeling for and learning from and with others, growing and strengthening our understanding and action. A sub-committee of the Network Team, of which IISC is a part, has put together a racial equity plan consisting of various areas of activity, including education, communication, convening, network weaving/organizing and curating tools and resources for food system advocates at all levels (organizational, community, municipal, state).

One step that has just been launched is a bit of an experiment, and takes the 21 Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge from Debbie Irving (author of Waking Up White) and Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. (founder of the White Privilege Conference), and turns it into a virtual community of practice. The ongoing challenge of the Network Team is to figure out a variety of means to keep knitting the network, and to keep communication and learning flowing. This is where the proliferation of social media tools and collaboration platforms has been extremely helpful. Read More

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November 17, 2011

8 Tools for New Possibilities

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|Photo by birgerking|http://www.flickr.com/photos/birgerking/4731898939|

I’ve really appreciated recent conversations with my colleagues Melinda Weekes and Gibran Rivera about how the use of on-line technologies is not just about the technology, but the new possibilities that they reveal for interaction and creation in both in person and virtual spheres.  I’ve been impressed by stories about and personal experiences of some of the social media tools out there that show how they are able to help us supplement, extend, and innovate around collaboration for social impact. And I’m enjoying playing with some of these in my various client engagements.  Here are a few tools for new possibilities, and I’m eager to hear what experiences you have had with them, as well as other ones not mentioned here, that have helped you realize the greater potential of collaboration and collective intelligence.  Thanks to Matthew Dryhurst at Craigslist Foundation and the Working Wikily team for a number of these leads! Read More

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October 12, 2010

Strong-Ties Weak-Ties

RPR

Part One of a Response to Malcolm’s Missive

“The revolution will not be tweeted” – No sh*t Sherlock!  But let me start with what I did like about Malcolm Gladwell’s annoyingly limited article.  Revolution can only happen in the real world, it is neither virtual nor abstract.  Revolution can only be measured as actual, successful and good when it has a real impact on increasing people’s capacity – people’s power – to determine their own destiny.  A true revolutionary act, the sort of revolutionary act that re-defines power relations, will always be a risky endeavor – power most often has to be taken, for it rarely ever surrenders itself. Read More

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May 18, 2010

Vision, Microtrending

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|Photo by laurenatclemson|http://www.flickr.com/photos/laurenmanning/2319032882/in/photostream|

A couple of weeks ago, during a training with early childhood advocates from around Connecticut, an interesting conversation ensued about vision.   This was prompted by one participant’s comment that in this day and age, “There is no such thing as vision.  There is no such thing as magic or miracles.  People are cynical.  People just don’t respond to vision anymore.”  There was some immediate push back to this comment, and also some acknowledgment that vision may not be what it used to be, thinking of the old standards a la MLK and JFK.

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