Amidst the hustle and bustle of food systems leadership, getting together with friends and colleagues to talk shop over a cup of coffee or tea can be a rare treat. That’s especially true for connecting with peers working in other parts of the country… besides national convenings and conferences, our ability to connect with other food systems leaders is limited by time, budget, and distance. But when we do come together, we return to our work with fresh perspective, new ideas, and a renewed sense of purpose and connection.

The FSLN’s Coffee Chats offer members the space and opportunity to do just that – connect, learn about each other’s work, and share knowledge, ideas, and inspiration.  

Coffee Chat Logistics:

Every third Wednesday of the month from 3pm to 3:45pm Central time, FSLN members are welcome to join us for an informal, peer-to-peer conversation around a specific topic that matters to this community. Each chat begins with a brief “interview” with a special guest with expertise in community-based food systems. Following this introduction and technical background, chats open up to the wider group for comments, discussion, and Q&A.

Coffee Chats are limited to 40 people to keep it conversational, so advanced registration is required. Keep an eye out in the Catalyst (our monthly newsletter) for announcements and registration links!

The line-up for future Coffee Chats is below; we've also had requests for support around effective meeting practices and DIY strategy retreats. Do you have expertise in these topics and would like to be our next guest?

What topics interest you that you’d like to learn more about? Would you like to share your knowledge and expertise with others?

Drop us a line! We’d love to hear what topics are important to you and/or have you join our Coffee Chat line up.

Upcoming Coffee Chat Schedule:

May 15: Volunteer Engagement with Joe Bobman of Food Forward

Volunteers can be powerful advocates for your organization, yet too often organizations struggle with finding - and keeping - these critical voices. Food Forward, southern California's largest urban gleaning nonprofit, has created a robust volunteer program that works with over 4,000 volunteers annually and hosts close to 200 events per month. A key to their success? Creating transformative volunteer experiences right from the beginning, resulting in a committed and knowledgeable volunteer base. Join this Coffee Chat with Joe Bobman, Food Forward's Technology and Engagement Manager, and Taylor Crotty, Volunteer Engagement Supervisor, for a lively and informative group discussion where we'll trade stories and tips for engaging volunteers in food systems work. Register here

Past Coffee Chats:

Day Racial Equity Challenge with Karen Spiller

Karen Spiller, one of the lead facilitators of Food Solutions New England's 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge, offered background, insights, and advice for participants of the challenge.

Collective Impact with Rich Pirog

Rich Pirog from the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University explores all things collective impact: conditions, strategies, and examples of successful models.

Successful Campaigns with Sonia Singh

Sonia Singh, Leadership Development Coordinator from the Food Chain Workers Alliance, discusses the work of the Alliance, their vision for an intersectional good food movement, and tips and strategies for leading campaigns to shift the food system. 

March 20: Food Landscape Assessments with Kathy Nyquist of New Venture Advisors

Kathy Nyquist discusses the tools NVA has developed for conducting food landscape assessments, practices for assessing your local food market and landscape, and landscape assessment pitfalls.