Taking our local food leader and community food systems trainings nationwide in 2018

March 27, 2018
Kaleyby Kaley Hohenshell, Program Assistant

The Community Food Systems Program (CFSP) received a grant from the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center to develop and pilot two national certification programs: Local Food Leader and Community Food Systems. We hosted the first of 10 national pilots last week in North Carolina.

We have offered the Local Food Leader program in Iowa for the past three years. It is designed for beginner-level local food coordinators. We have now added five additional online training modules that lead to a certificate.

The Community Food Systems Program is offered as a two-day, in-person workshop. This certification is meant for intermediate-level food systems practitioners. Participants can then access four online modules following the workshop to complete a certification.

Local Food Leader trainings

About 30 local foods practitioners from Iowa (and a few from the US Virgin Islands) gathered for the third annual Iowa Local Food Leader training in February at the ISU Alumni Center in Ames.

They attended sessions on foundational practices for food systems programming. Six facilitators presented sessions on:

  • equity as a foundation to local foods work
  • food systems
  • facilitation and event planning
  • work-life balance
  • evaluation and professional development, and
  • how to incorporate these practices into daily activities

By the end of the day, attendees had set their 2018 work goals and begun creating a plan of work, evaluation plan, and professional development plan.

Following this one-day foundational workshop, participants will have access to four online modules which offer a more intensive training. If they successfully complete the online activities and homework, they will receive a Local Food Leader certificate.

trainings NC group full
North Carolina was the site of the first pilot project for our Local Food Leader training in March 2018.

The online modules cover:

  • local food leaders in community food systems
  • methods of engagement and leadership
  • creating teams and tools for success, and
  • evaluation

Community Food Systems Program trainings

We developed the Community Food Systems Program training and certification for intermediate-level local food practitioners who are interested in assisting in the development of their community food system. The two-day intensive teaches the various phases of the Community Food Systems process that Iowa State University has developed over the last four years. CFSP is a collaboration between the Local Foods and Community Economic Development programs.

Day one includes sessions on the fundamentals of the Community Food Systems Program, creative methods for community engagement, coalition development, and community food systems assessment.

Day two reviews how to determine priority projects, project management, the design process and its relationship to food systems, program evaluation, best practices, and resources.

Following the training, participants can go on to complete four online modules we have developed, covering:

  • community food systems assessment
  • project management
  • economic impact, and
  • design thinking

Once participants complete the training and certification program, they will be prepared to offer the full three-year Community Food Systems program in their own communities.

As certified community food systems professionals, they’ll receive document templates for public input sessions, interviews, posters, community food systems assessments, and general project meeting agendas to use in their communities.

The Local Food Leader and Community Food Systems Program trainings can be offered individually or in conjunction with one other. Visit our CFSP web page for more information on the processes we use.

We are looking for a few more pilot partners for fall 2018. The fee for the second (fall) half of the pilot is $1000 per organization/state. Contact Courtney Long at court7@iastate.edu or Kaley Hohenshell at kaleyh@iastate.edu.