In 2018, Maine Food Strategy embarked on “Network 2.0”, an exploratory process with stakeholders working on a wide range of food system issues.
The process involved facilitated meetings and surveys, probing questions such as:
- What state-level network activities add the most value to our collective food systems work?
- How do we track quantitative data on indicators of change and communicate this information to each other?
- How should state government be engaged in the network and/or leadership of the network?
- What resources can we collectively bring to the table to support the work we feel is most important and what resource gaps exist?
The Network 2.0 Process produced several key findings for how to support the network of groups working on food system issues in Maine:
Leadership is Critical
- Private foundations have been instrumental in seeding food systems planning in the New England States, including Maine.
- Initiatives that have made the most progress have had support and leadership from state government.
- Greater state government involvement in planning and coordinating was recognized as a need by most stakeholders.
Coordinating across sectors and organizations is important to achieving results.
- These types of activities were considered to be valuable:
- Relationship-building and information-sharing across sectors;
- Collecting and disseminating data that informs planning, programs, and decision-making for businesses and organizations;
- Aggregating tools and resources that exist within various organizations;
- Increasing capital to benefit businesses along the value chain; and
- Identifying shared priorities and promoting a vision.
- Stakeholders were particularly interested in an annual statewide gathering and activities that connect social, political, and economic assets with needs in a community’s food system.
Read the full report here: What Maine’s Food System Needs Now: Leadership and Strategy to Maximize Results