The North American Food Systems Network (NAFSN) supports the work of professionals, academics, and activists who focus on agriculture and food issues. Your membership includes a subscription to the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (JAFSCD). Learn more about joining!

JAFSCD cover spring 2014, volume 4, issue 3




Food System Infrastructure Maps



NAFSN logo

New Partner in Smart Growth Conference


"Practical Tools and Innovative Strategies for


Creating Great Communities"


(with special Pre-Conference Workshop on Food Systems)


(Portland, OR, Feb 11-13)


NAFSN Members can receive a registration discount.

Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for discount code.


NAFSN founding members This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (Coastal Enterprises Inc.) and Julia Freedgood (American Farmland Trust) will be hosting a NAFSN pilot "Shrinking the Silos" meet and greet during the conference. Let This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it know if you are interested in getting together.






NAFNS Members Head to San Antonio


to Work on Certification Program!


The Food Systems Development Certification Team (composed of members of both NAFSN and the eXtension Community, Local and Regional Food Systems Community of Practice (CLRFS CoP)) will be heading to San Antonio this March to be part of eXtension's i-Three Corps. In addition to training with other i-Three Corps participants, the team will wrap up its work on conceptualizing the certification program and begin drafting a funding proposal to underwrite its development and pilot projects.


During our initial meeting hosted by the Leopold Center and Iowa State University Extension in Ames, Iowa the Certification Team heard from existing certification and training programs as well as a focus group of ISU local food Extension professionals about their experiences and training needs, and began to sketch out how the program might work. Some of the ideals that emerged from Ames include:


• Providing multiple paths to certification (no one size fits all). For example, certification can be secured through an accredited college degree, an intensive training program, or an online self-paced program.

• Emphasizing best practices in community development (e.g., asset inventorying, engaging stakeholders, setting benchmarks, conducting meaningful evaluation and impact analysis).

• Offering multiple levels of certification, such as:


    o LEVEL 1 Being able to Describe best practices (e.g., based on self-paced learning)

    o LEVEL 2 Being able to Engage in best practice (e.g., based on evidence of experience)

    o LEVEL 3 Being able to Teach best practices (e.g., based on experience as mentor or instructor)


• Offering both specialist certification (e.g., in production, distribution, consumption) and generalist certification (e.g., some training across all three domains).


• Being affordable and accessible to NAFSN members who live and work where the rubber meets the road.


The Food Systems Development Certification Team headed for San Antonio includes:


Craig Chase, Iowa State University

Amy Christian, Lyson Center

Gil Gillespie, Cornell, Retired

Duncan Hilchey, Lyson Center

Jane Kolodinsky, University of Vermont

Joanna Lelekacs, North Carolina State University

Gail P. Myers, Farms to Grow, Inc., Oakland California

Kim Niewolny, Virginia Tech

Brian Raison, Ohio State Extension

Roxanne Richards, University of Minnesota-Duluth


The Food Systems Development Certification Team will be seeking involvement from other NAFSN Founding Members in the coming months. In the meantime input regarding the certification program is WELCOME and EXPECTED from Founding Members and should be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or shared judiciously with on NAFSN-L.


For more details about the outcomes of the Ames meeting and what is likely to be focused on in San Antonio see Draft Certification Concept Paper HERE.







An Introduction to the U.S. Food System:


Perspectives from Public Health


Begins: beginning the week of January 11, 2016 (this week!)

Free, six week course offered through the Johns Hopkins University partnership with Coursera


Course Description: A food system encompasses the activities, people and resources involved in getting food from field to plate. Along the way, it intersects with aspects of public health, equity and the environment. In this course, we will provide a brief introduction to the U.S. food system and how food production practices and what we choose to eat impacts the world in which we live. Through several case studies, we will discuss some key historical and political factors that have helped shape the current food system and consider alternative approaches from farm to fork. Topics include food security, food animal production, aquaculture, food waste, and the farm bill. The course will be led by a team of faculty and staff from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Guest lecturers will include experts from a variety of disciplines, including public health and agriculture. A statement of accomplishment from Coursera is provided to participants who earn an average of 75% or greater across all quizzes. Verified certificates are available for a fee.








(Photo by Chelsey Simpson, National Farm To School Network)


NAFSN is a professional development association for individuals and organizations working at the forefront of food systems programming—on initiatives, programs, and research from beginning farmers and sustainable agriculture to food hubs, farm-to-school, food security, and healthy eating. NAFSN provides affordable training opportunities, resources, tools, and networking opportunities for its members.

Learn more about our programs and services and download a copy of the NAFSN White Paper to get more background on NAFSN's development.

Membership Benefits

  • Receive discounts on select conferences and workshops offered by partnering organizations;
  • Have access to professional development tools and resources on the website (such as a job opportunities and a professional development training calendar);
  • Have access to technical assistance through the NAFSN mentoring program (cosponsored by NAFSN and the Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture and Food Systems); and
  • Receive a subscription to the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (JAFSCD).


Interested in Joining?

Memberships range from US$59 to US$89, depending on your professional occupation. We also have a lifetime membership option. Learn more here.



NAFSN Founding Members Meeting

Spring 2016,  TBA





NAFSN Mentor Program

A free mentoring program for qualified organizations


Get details or apply

Progressive Agriculture Rankings

Is Your Farm Community Up to "PAR"?




PAR is a new tool for agriculture development practitioners to gauge how “progressive” their agricultural community is.


See how  your state ranks at Progressive Ag Ranking.


(Note: County-level data is accessible to NAFSN members only!)

Professional Development Tools

Copyright 2015 • All Rights Reserved • North American Food Systems Network • Last Update: 6 Oct 2015
Developed by CyberSense.US