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Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Community and Local Food Resources > Organizational Capacity and Structure

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Organizational Capacity and Structure

people in class

Effective organizations need to have strong organizational capacity and structure. That means that they need to be able to identify and engage supporters, form coalitions with other organizations, and hold effective meetings in order to effectively plan and implement projects. People and organizations supporting local food efforts also need to be able to identify, support, and train leaders. This is important because it ensures that local food programs (like a farmers market or a purchasing program with a community college) will be able to continue after an existing leader steps down.


This section links to resources that will help organizations become more efficient, effective, and sustainable.

Community Engagement

Chapter 7. Encouraging Involvement in Community Work
Workgroup for Community Health and Development — University of Kansas
This section, part of the Community Toolbox, addresses steps for increasing participation in community work. It will provide hints on promoting participation among diverse groups, identifying key stakeholders, making personal contact with potential participants, and more.

Creating and Maintaining Coalitions and Partnerships
Workgroup for Community Health and Development — University of Kansas
This specific example, part of the Community Toolkit, provides instructions for building and maintaining coalitions and partnerships.

Overview: Getting an Advocacy Campaign off the Ground
Workgroup for Community Health and Development — University of Kansas
The overview, part of the Community Tool Box, provides advice on getting an advocacy campaign going.

Community Engagement
Minnesota Department of Health
This website offers a description of community engagement and offers links to resources, tools, and information to help guide organizations toward utilizing effective community engagement practices.

Resources and Tools
Minnesota Department of Health
This site helps answer the question: so how do you "do" community engagement? And introduction to community engagement, useful community engagement strategies and skills, and tools for doing surveys and collecting evaluation data.

Groups, Meetings, and Events
Minnesota Department of Health
This site provides useful tools and resources for planning, organizing, and conducting groups, meetings, and events.

Farm to School Field Guide for Parents and Community Members
Community Alliance with Family Farmers
This publication outlines steps that parents and community members can take to develop successful Farm to School programs, including integrating education into the classroom and creating a School Nutrition Action Council (SNAC).

Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
The “Ag in the Classroom” initiative provides resources for teachers to incorporate agriculture-related education into the curriculum. The site offers various lessons in Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies and an AgMag, a magazine geared toward 4th-6th graders focusing on food production in Minnesota.

Leadership and Succession Training

The Community Tool Box
Workgroup for Community Health and Development — University of Kansas
This Community Tool box is a comprehensive resource for information on essential skills for building healthy communities. It offers practical guidance in creating community change and improvement. Many chapters in the How-To Guide focus on training people to become leaders. This could be helpful for those struggling to take charge of their organizations or those organizations looking to find and train new leaders to take charge. Some of the issues addressed include: organizational structure, hiring and training key staff and volunteers, effective management skills, cultural competence, obtaining finances, and more.

Section 1. Learning how to Be a Community Leader
Workgroup for Community Health and Development — University of Kansas
This section, part of the Community Toolbox, features resources on leadership training, including an overview, tools and checklists, and a PowerPoint presentation.

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