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Food Networks

Convening of Minnesota Food Network Leaders

As the lead partner of engagement to the Minnesota Food Charter Network, University of Minnesota Extension hosted a convening for food network leaders on November 28 and 29, 2016 at the Commons Hotel in Minneapolis.

The goal of the Convening of Food Network Leaders was to support, connect, and build capacity of food networks to contribute to the implementation of Minnesota Food Charter strategies. The “unconference” was kept small so that attendees could enter into deep, meaningful, and vulnerable conversations about collaboration, authentic community engagement, race, and justice.

Almost 80 food network leaders from across Minnesota attended the Convening. Attendees met new people and learned about work taking place in different “silos” of the food system. Attendees were encouraged to break down the silos and, as one presenter put it, to start working in “spheres.” Spheres have round edges. They roll around, bump into others, and can even merge. These mobile, malleable spheres (or bubbles) were an apt metaphor for the atmosphere of the convening. Throughout the Convening, attendees were encouraged to get outside their comfort zone, meet new people, embrace new and sometimes uncomfortable ideas, have fun and literally, blow bubbles together.

This two-day convening was highly interactive and participatory, featuring keynotes, breakout sessions, and structured networking. Click “More information +” for the detailed agenda.

Goal: Support, connect and build capacity of food networks to contribute to the implementation of MN Food Charter strategies

Monday, November 28


8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

8:00 Breakfast, registration and networking
8:30 Welcome — Nadja Berneche, Emcee
9:00 Keynote — Our Shared Experience as Network Leaders — Anne Palmer
9:30 Keynote — Breaking Down Silos, Building a Better Future — DeVon Nolen and Mary Jo Forbord
10:15 Facilitated Activity — MN Food Charter Network Connection Michael Dahl, Jamie Bain, Noelle Harden, and Stephanie Heim
12:00 Lunch and networking
1:00 – 1:45 Breakout Sessions
  • Building Effective Networks — Jamie Bain, Noelle Harden, Stephanie Heim, and Anne Palmer
  • Building a Collective Identity through Effective Communications — Maggi Adamek and Lindsi Gish
  • Influencing Policy at all levels — Michael Dahl and Mary Marrow
2:00 Facilitated Activity — We are all champions
2:30 Facilitated Activity — What will you champion?
4:15 Closing
4:30 Evening Reception
Connect with other Minnesota Food Charter Champions!  Enjoy free appetizers and a cash bar

Tuesday, November 29


8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

8:30 Welcome
9:00 Keynote — Moving from Connectivity to Action — Lex Horan and Katie Deschene
9:30 Facilitated Activity — Weaving Together our Common Threads — Jamie Bain and Noelle Harden

Breakout Sessions with Minnesota Food Charter Action Teams (choose one)

  • Learning and Capacity Building + Aligned Funding — Noelle Harden, Maria Regan Gonzalez, Alison Babb, and Pam Bishop
  • Policy + Shared Measures — Ali Anfinson, Liana Schreiber, Jenna Carter, and Lance Knuckles
11:45 Lunch and Networking
12:45 Share highlights from the State of the Food Charter Event
1:00 Facilitated Activity — Connect to Next Steps with a Room Full of Champions
2:15 Facilitated Activity — Shared Gifting
3:00 Closing
3:30 (Optional) Food Policy Council Convergence — Anne Palmer, Mary Marrow, and Maggi Adamek

Enjoy refreshments while discussing with other food policy council leaders about how to build action-oriented relationships with local policy makers, how to craft effective messaging, and best practices for engaging members as well as the community.

How to Stay Connected?

There are a number of ways you can get or stay connected to the work of food networks across Minnesota.

Organizers and Sponsors

While University of Minnesota Extension is taking the lead in overall coordination, the convening was developed in partnership with the following Minnesota Food Charter Champions:

Funding for this convening is provided in part by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and Minnesota Food Charter Network. Thank you to everyone who attended, planned, executed, and otherwise made the event a success. We could have never done it alone!

Evaluation Results and Notes from Convening

Related resources

Minnesota Food Charter — The Minnesota Food Charter is a roadmap designed to guide policymakers and community leaders in providing Minnesotans with equal access to affordable, safe, and healthy food regardless of where they live.

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