Resource Spotlight: National Good Food Network
Jeff Farbman has been thinking about scaling up Good Food for 10 years at Wallace Center. His background in both teaching and technology have informed and shaped his work and interventions with food hubs, farmer food safety, and other market-based support of healthy, fair, affordable, and green food. Jeff - thanks so much for sharing all these valuable resources with us!
Since the NGFN works to support the development of regional food systems, we work with a variety of individuals and organizations from across the food value chain; however, a majority of our database contains resources for food hub practitioners and general food safety knowledge.
The National Good Food Network (NGFN) was established in 2008 and is the Wallace Center’s cross-cutting capacity building platform that connects the Wallace Center’s various initiative areas to a national audience of farmers and food businesses, support organizations, government agencies, educators, investors, financial services providers, and a broad coalition of other regional food system stakeholders. We are a network of networks that helps to exchange information, best practices, and innovation from communities to the national level.
Okay now for the fun stuff…
1. How would you describe the NGFN? But there’s a catch… describe the NGFN in a haiku!
Deepen your knowledge
2. What does the NGFN bring to the (national food systems) table?
The NGFN brings a few things to the national food systems table. In short, we offer:
• Documents, publications, case studies, and toolkits
• An ongoing series of high quality webinars, all recorded and archived for reference
• Food Hub specific resources like the National Food Hub Survey and Food Hub Finances guides
• Food Safety and GroupGAP resources and fact sheets
The more detailed explanation is that we:
• Convene and moderate communities of practice, bringing together individuals and organizations from across the good food system, to create a community dedicated to scaling up good food sourcing and access.
o Our Food Hub Community of Practice is an active listserv with members from across the country seeking support and offering solutions.
o Our National Good Food Network Conference is a comprehensive, practitioner-driven conference for leaders to share inspirational ideas, build professional connections, and learn practical skills and innovative approaches for creating resilient and inclusive food systems. Our next gathering will be March 10-13, 2020 in New Orleans, LA – join us!
• Offer a platform for e-learning where we create, elevate, and disseminate new resources and best practices:
- Our resource database is full of tools, templates, and reports that support the development of local and regional food systems, including a specific focus on:
o Our monthly webinars date back to 2009 on a variety of topics – like innovations in value chain infrastructure and programming, the nuances of food safety, procurement practices, and business development, funding opportunities, and more.
3. Who does the NGFN serve?
We support individuals and organizations (non-profit, social enterprises, for-profit, food hubs, academics, researchers, and more) that are working at various points along the food value chain. Our resources, including webinars, publications, and tools, are open source, free, and available to any. If you are deeply involved in food hubs, you should join and then visit our Food Hub Community of Practice (membership approval can take a bit, but be patient!).
4. What do people/orgs look to you for?
We’re probably best known for our webinars and our work on Food Hubs. Our webinars feature a variety of food systems leaders and innovations – we partner with practitioners to amplify programmatic achievements, the government to elucidate grants and policy changes, and other organizations to deliver metrics and reports relevant to this field.
5. What one (or two!) problem(s) can someone find solutions for on your site?
1. Need support starting or managing a food hub?
Our Food Hub Center has resources on food hub finances, business plan development, and more.
2. Interested in seeing various programmatic innovations – and possibly adapting some for your organization?!
Our webinar database has over 100 webinars that will inspire ideas and introduce you to new ways of thinking and doing.
6. Are there certain tools or resources that you’ve found especially popular?
In general, our webinars offer food systems practitioners a suite of information to pull from regarding regional food systems development (aggregation, metrics, social justice, policy to name a few webinar topics). Interestingly, despite being known for our work on food hubs and food safety, our most popular webinar is Grass-Based Dairy - Low Input, High Value with over 5,000 views.
7. Who can access your resources? How?
8. What other resources or support is the NGFN looking for?
We’re always on the look out for inspiring people and innovative organizations that want to share their work with broader audiences, and challenging topics that we can explore further. If you have a webinar topic you’re interested in, or know of an organization doing incredible work, drop us a line!
9. What other “resource-full” organizations would you recommend?
NSAC, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
10. How can someone get in touch with you for more information?
Save the Date! Our fifth biennial, National Good Food Network Conference will be March 10-13, 2020 in New Orleans, LA. Visit our Conference website to learn more.