WLFN’s Collaborative Planning Meeting - May 6th, 2019
Thank you to East Madison Community Center for hosting this meeting!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT 2
Notes from the meeting 2
In attendance 2
Why should food systems folks work together? 3
Who else would we like to include? Who else do we wish were here today? 4
Why bring people together? Who are you bringing together? 5
What everyone wrote on post-its 5
How can we come together and provide a space for a diverse set of food system actors, and utilize this space for policy, visioning, or supply chain creation? 8
In Closing: Next Steps Activity 12
Tracts & Working Groups 12
What people wrote on their Index Cards 13
NEXT STEPS 14
Note: Jessica Spayde typed up these notes, and takes full responsibility if anyone’s comments have been mischaracterized. Please contact WLFN (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you wish to change any of the wording in this notes document.
Join us for a May 6th meeting in Madison!
Time: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Location: East Madison Community Center, 8 Straubel Ct, Madison, WI 53704
Are you interested in being part of the team to create a NEW Wisconsin food systems event? Then, please participate in our collaborative VISIONING and PLANNING meeting on May 6th, 11am – 1pm, in Madison.
Comment: Lots of these people are “respresnted” by the groups in the room.
~~ Segway into activity ~~
Why bring people together? Who are you bringing together?
Everyone in the room and on Zoom wrote down their answers to these two questions:
WHY does your group bring people together? What is the PURPOSE of your group? What do you hope to achieve?
WHO is your group bringing together? For Whom does your group work to help?
Roger Williams, Food, Faith, and Farming Network
Helen Sarakinos, REAP Food Group
Kris Collett, Slow Food WISE (WI Southeast)
Charlotte Litjens, WI DATCP Farm to school
Sarah Lloyd, Wisconsin Farmers Union
Vanessa Herald, UW-CIAS
Vanessa Herald, UW-CIAS
De’Kendrea Stamps, East Madison Community Center
Maeraj Sheikh, Community Groundworks
Maeraj Sheikh, Community Groundworks
Maeraj Sheikh, Community Groundworks
Garrett Peterson Community Groundworks
Amanda "Bear" Chu
Val Dantoin - Green Bay, Northeast Wis Tech college
Kietra Olson, DATCP
Sarah Lloyd: How do we go to people where they’re already at? Because the whole winter is full of events for farmers.
Lindsey: If we’re set on having a summit, then it’s good to think about what summits are good for. Skill building, training, networking, education, information transfer
Questions to ask:
Diane: Agree that a summit can be good at networking and knowledge exchange. It needs to be targeted. Not every summit needs to focus on the same issues. But we’ll accomplish more if we decide that this year’s summit is around this topic. There are a lot of ideas in the room, and if we try to meet them all, we’ll fail.
Vanessa: This might be pandora’s box. We’re 10 years into this movement, and we need to have a reality check on where farming is right now. We’re headed into a crisis, if we’re not already in one. Let’s not think business as usual, but really assessing how and if we’re actually supporting local and regional farmers in the food system. Let’s think strategically about what is needed for agriculture in general. So that we have a local and regional food system that we can continue to work with and promote, instead of letting it dissolve. Instead of doing a regular conference, I want us to think about if we can do something bigger. There is something really big emerging, if it’s not already here, that we should really address.
Prompt to Say more about the ag crisis:
Instead of doing feel-good work. We need to make sure we’re having an impact on local growers, supporting market development, and increasing local.
Jess: Is there a bigger frame or problem that we’re all trying to address? Improving food systems? How do we have an event that really addresses the goals we’re all trying to work on?
Trudi: Agree that there’s already a farming crisis. If there are already all these conferences, does it make sense for one of those groups to expand to bring in what we’re all trying to do? Like the Farmers Union, can they open up and create space for the groups represented here today?
Helen: Another big opportunity: I would love to see a statewide policy platform around some of the issues we work on. Supply chain. Liminiations to farm to school. To recognizing the quality of food in schools is an equity issue. A gathering like this is a beginnings of creating a state-wide platform. In leadership change, we get a phone call: what would you like to see in the budget. And then I look around and ask, what all did we decide? I’d love to support what we’ve all decided, but there is no “what we’ve all decided.” I’d love to see that emerge over the next few years. Having this kind of summit or gathering statewide is a great place for this to be developed.
Garrett: The WLFN is perfectly positioned for all the work in the state. It’s already a great platform. What’s going to get me to a summit is that my mind is going to be blown. Where i’ll learn about innovative things. WLFN could currate that, and be a showcase, and hold vision for where we’re going together.
Donale: One thing i’ve seen is that there’s a large focus on identifying issues. What i’m more focused on is what are the solutions? We are living in the present and need to take care of things right now. It’s hard to get everyone in the room to be part of that discussion, but that space is necessary. If there are other conferences happening, what can WLFN do to focus on that space and bring solutions to that conversation ,and bringing people together. I also like the networking aspect. How can we be more creative on providing spaces for people to connect on a personal level. Instead of this is my business, etc, we can connect on a personal level before we start to address things on a personal level. Have an understanding of where we come from, where our ideas connect on a personal level. I’d like to see those opportunities.
Devon: Allyship is a super important part of this work. Learning how we can all truly understand our respective struggles. If we don’t all understand the issues to the extent that would should, then parts of the solutions will necessarily be missing. We all have to be allies to someone in some community. This can be a space to learn from each other and learn how to best support each other. And understand where we’re coming from. From there, build on. I can’t solve issues in rural Wisconsin, because those aren’t my community, and I don’t know those issues. But I know that I can do something. And I know that someone else from somewhere else can help in my community. In some capacity. Learning how we can work around those issues. I think we can help each other play our specific roles.
Maeraj: Second that on allyship. Piggyback on what Donale was saying. Getting interpersonal connection and trust is a big piece of this. I spent 20 hours in an encounter group with 8 people. Intense stuff, a lot happened. Today’s meeting is great -- But even the distance across the room. The magic happens right here, face-to-face, Between us. That’s the way to build trust, and get momentum on moving ideas forward, and connecting the different communities we all represent, and building that allyship.
Greg Lawless: I’m not on the WLFn board, and don’t speak for them, but I’ve been following them. Thanks to healthTIDE this year, her position has been 70% funded. But the last few conferences haven’t provided any funding to support her position. When Jane Hansen was doing it, the conference helped support that work. Jessica’s doing more than that, Jessica’s been running around the state, and getting people here today. Should we have a conference? I think so, because if we can get sponsors, and alot of people to attend, and a fundraising dinner. I support Helen and this idea of policy. Lindsey, you’re right that we can’t do everything, but if we focus on policy, we can focus on everything. We have a new governor, and this might be an opportunity.
Shelbi: Coming off what Lindsey said about focusing, and what this table said about having a focus on interpersonal relationships. If we could hear more about what process we’re going to enter into, that’d be nice to hear.
Jess: one idea is having the summit to bring people together, and utilize that space to have those intentional conversations about policy.
Greg: these are not new ideas. In 2017 summit, we brought people from other states, to talk about how other states have done this. We don’t want to dictate from the top down, but we need to start putting things on paper. This idea of starting a policy or charter or framework. We can divide by health outcomes, sustainability, nutrition, all the way down the line. The health category can take the lead on the framework regarding health, and so on down the line. When we have a summit, when we have a summit, we can have these smaller committees, but we can talk about the bigger picture. We also need to organize at the local level. We have talked about a regional approach, but I think we need a micro-regional approach. Maybe it’s replicating a milwaukee food council in every community, and helping every community do that around the state. I’ve also observed that feeding wisconsin does well, they talk about advocacy and policy and how we can influence policy, and we need to create that in our organization. That idea of being a presenter at other people’s conferences, and spreading our message at others conferences is a key part of this.
Jess: we’ve had these conversations about all these different ideas. Maybe it’s doing something like FEAST! Tradeshow, which is an expo where vendors can go and sell their products. Like the farmshed local food fair. Part of this conversation is: how do we do that for all of wisconsin? Can we do a local food fair for all of wisconsin local farmers and value added producers? While we have them there, can we also have more intentional discussions about building relationships between them and institutions and distributors and grocers. So that’s one idea. The Local food fair like in Steven’s Point.
The other idea is the intentional policy thing. Do we do something at a big convention center, where we go back and forth between the big picture (improving food and farming in wisconsin for everyone) and breaking into groups that are more focused. Then going back and forth between big and focused.
Those were the big thoughts, then we starting thinking more. Extension could do programming there. And this is why I wanted to bring you all here. Because maybe this is a place where you could be part of this too?
If there's something you've been wanting to do but you haven't had a place to do it -- you could utilize this space. But I agree that it can't be everything because then you're nothing. So you can't do everything well but if there's a draw for certain people to come and then because they’re already there, they can be part of this larger policy discussion. I think that would be really awesome. and it's something that I don't see happening anywhere else. I mean we were at the meeting with all the different food and farming conferences in Wisconsin --is that happening anywhere already? Is that something we could tag on to somebody else's conference, or is that something we need to do on our own?
I want all of your help with this, because, literally I can't do this on my own. Wisconsin local food network shouldn’t do this on their own. It needs to be collaborative process and I need you all to be a part of it to make it work.
Gerg Zahn: Maybe we ask everyone some questions. Should we have it. When should we have it, and what would the format be. We could go through a series. Then get as much fo a consensus from this group. Then we get feedback from the summit and go from there?
Layne: I have a question.
Layne: um just thinking about what Greg said about the fact that you know you guys did bring people from Illinois and Michigan and learned about their charters and that the framework needs to be developed.
Do we feel that we've heard from enough people over all the time we've been doing these summits to develop that framework? and then use the opportunity of the summit to actually release the framework ahead of time? So that we have time for people be able to give input and dive deeper into the actual policy moving forward after the summit? Or do you think that we still need to do the early stages together?
Jess: yeah really good question. maybe it's a series of immediate regional zoom meetings or regional in-person meetings or something. and then the summit is something where we all come together to discuss it at a statewide level.
Roger: two thoughts one would be I agree entirely with Vanessa that we really are at a crisis in farming right at this point in time. conventional farming is just not working right now and the best example of that is we have lost half of our dairy farms in the last 15 years we're down to fewer than 8,000 dairy farms and conventional farming in other ways isn't working either: crop farming, swine farming, beef farming etc. so we're we're really at a transition point it's just a question of how do you make something different happen? and I don't know the answer to that one but I think Jessica when you laid out this idea of a food summit you talked about whether there'd be co-sponsors that might each want to take on a track and that might be a starting point.
I think the food faith and farming network would be interested in in a track in a conference. I don't know what other groups would be interested in the track. but there might be a starting point if we got the actors that were very interested in doing a track to this conference it might help to define what the conference would be. so a starting point is a suggestion.
Holly: Yes - definitely act now with the information you have now. because it is an emergency and that's the way you respond in an emergency. expect that all the people who are really well informed in their areas and professionals and really concerned in all this don't have the answers. so the first summit whatever it is to be whether it's just to to not lose this enthusiasm or the opportunity. Don't expect it to be perfect and don’t wait for it to be perfect. Because it’s the opportunity to start reaching out. It’s the ground level is who should be informing. It’s pulling information from those people to figure out how the system works. That’s the kind of energy we don’t want to lose at this point. It’s just starting to open those doors and make those connections. Don’t expect that the summit will reach all of those actors. Maybe it’s taking the show on the road to get a wider voice.
Donale: one recommendation. I really like how, typically, once a year, there is a time to get people together and get into a room where decisions are made. Not to say that WLFN has to be the one to make the decision. But it’s an opportunity to have that space to start that process. One thing I admire is the listserve and the announcements that come through that. The recommendation is having focus groups aligned with the summit, but throughout the year there are opportunities for people to report and share what they've experience with similar groups across the state. The listserv can be the ongoing conversations. The conference itself is where we make some decisions, and decide next steps. And on an annual basis we build on that. I like the listserv, and it is an amazing resource which can help us decide what the priorities for the conference are.
Valerie: I’d like to echo that. I’d like to see a working group. Maybe the board is playing this role already. But could we just have working groups that could format priorities for policy or whatever work we want to do. And bring that information to a conference. Instead of a conference giving us information, we use the conference to report out what our priorities already are.
Jess: Love the idea.
Devon: Yes. we love the idea. The best way to get buy-in, especially when we’re talking about across the food system. I love the idea of tracks, but This could be a space where we amplify work. Instead of creating new work. I think it’s a better tie-in for folks to ask: how can I cooperate or coexist within this space and go from there.
Maeraj: I know each of us is passionate about the work we do. And we all have capacity building work to do. I would love if there was some kind of space, some venue or space, or some place that holds that space. So we can amplify, what we’re doing, connect, and echo-locate one another.
Jess: can you say more about what the capacity building would look like.
Maeraj: To talk about what we’re passionate about, to talk about what we’re doing, and identify where are the gaps. We can have this space, where there’s not necessarily an agenda, but space where we can hash out what’s working, what’s not, and how we can help one another.
Valerie: One thing I’d like to do, when we do all come together. If we could not talk to ourselves only. We need to broaden that conversation out, so that we’re not just preaching to the choir. We need to invite policy makers and other decision makers at DATCP. Extension - who have a voice in this. To really see what work is going on in the state, to respect that work, and to kick it up to the next level, to give us the resources we need to really do this food work in the state.
Devon: Echo that. I think, while we’re doing this, while we’re talking with each other, it’s critical for us to be intentional about who is doing this work. A lot of people who have experience doing this work might not be in the room with us. So as we’re building this, and doing our own capacity work, making sure we’re being inclusive to the people in this space.
Helen: I think it’s worth mentioning: as we talk about policy or institutional change. This doesn’t have to look like a statewide charter. This could be at the local government level. This could be talking to local school boards.
Discussion ended by Jessica at 1:00 pm to respect everyone’s time.
Other Zoom Comments:
Val Dantoin - Green Bay, Northeast Wis Tech college: I want one (ish) voice helping move food policy forward in the state. Other regions have a council group that speaks for and helps distribute grant funding around the state. Rather than competing for funds, let's allocate rationally in a fair way. Let’s pick projects that help farmers (my community) or the hungry (I don't work with those folks) in a way that moves everything forward. Lets advise DATCP & extension on how to move policy forward.
Layne: I echo Helen’s idea, setting WLFN’s main priority around developing and advocating for statewide policy. WLFN members could host listening sessions at existing farm/food based events to learn the pressure points from our stakeholders.
Layne: How about applying for this grant? https://www.med.wisc.edu/wisconsin-partnership-program/community-grant-programs/#collaboration
Amy: Using bi-directional feedback loops to get feedback from ‘change agents’ and get then turn the collective feedback back out to the whole network.
Amanda: format suggestion: WFU's Emerging Leaders training as a first summit that targets regional leaders in the state. the focus can be developing policy councils.
Jess: I’m super excited about the possibility of creating something together. I’d like some feedback from you all before you go. Please write on an index card two things:
1. If we do a summit with tracks, what is your interest in that?
2. If we put together working groups, what part would you be interested in?