AIN Recent Projects
Ag Innovations Network provides a wide range of facilitation and capacity building services to organizations and communities grappling with food system issues. Here we list some of our more recent work. If you are interested in learning more about how we support your efforts to strengthen your community or organization, please contact us.
Marin Community Foundation
2010-Current. AIN has been working with the Marin Community Foundation (MCF) to facilitate a stakeholder involvement process to inform MCF’s initiative to improve the quality and quantity of farm worker housing in Marin County. The process has included ranchers, government and NGO officials, and farm labor advocates. A guiding principles document has been crafted and an initial grant of $500,000 has been made to and matched by the Marin Workforce Housing Trust to establish a revolving fund to finance individual projects on ranches. The Trust will partner with the Marin Housing Authority for implementation. Negotiations and preparation of further required documentation are currently underway with an anticipated completion date of October, meaning that the first housing improvements should be done in early 2012.
The project was recently applauded in a Marin Independent Journal editorial, Housing program for Marin ag workers deserves support. Click to download a pdf version of the article.
JBF Annual Food Conference
2011. For the third year in a row, Joseph McIntyre assisted the James Beard Foundation with the design and implementation of their Annual Food Conference, including facilitation of the 2-day meeting. During the conference, Joseph joined a conversation about How Money And Media Influence The Way America Eats on Taste Matters, a Brooklyn-based Heritage Radio Network. Kerry Trueman of Grist covered the conference in a well-written article.
International Rescue Committee
2011-Current. The International Rescue Committee, Inc. (IRC) was awarded Community Food Project funds to foster the development of new immigrant food and farming enterprises to increase food security in San Diego. Ag Innovations Network is facilitating on-going evaluation of the program throughout the grant period. An October 10 NY Times article describes IRC’s successful City Heights Farmers’ Market. Click to download the pdf.
California Agroecosystem Planning Program
2010-Current. The Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis is forming the California Integrative Network to Enhance Sustainable Agroecosystem Science to encourage long-term, multidisciplinary research of soil carbon solutions. Ag Innovations Network is supporting this effort by facilitating research team planning meetings, as well as forming and facilitating workgroups in coordination with our own networks.
Future 500: Charting New Waters
2011. The Future 500, an organization that seeks to forge relationships between corporations and NGOs to advance the “triple bottom line, contracted with Ag Innovations Network to facilitate its first summit entitled Charting New Waters: Agriculture, the Supply Chain and Conservation Policy. The summit focused on issues of improving agricultural water stewardship in the United States. Over 50 leaders of major US agriculture and food companies and their NGO allies met at the Johnson Foundation Wingspread conference site in Racine, Wisconsin to begin identifying shared principles for wise water stewardship practice and policy. Ag Innovations Network president, Joseph McIntyre, facilitated the event in partnership with Bill Shireman, president and CEO of Future 500. For more information on event outcomes, see the executive summary (pdf).
Sustainable Food Lab Leadership Summit
2011. During the week of June 27, over 150 representatives of local, regional, national, and global farming and food companies came together to better operationalize sustainability at the the Sustainable Food Lab’s annual Summit. Joseph McIntyre facilitated sessions on examining challenges to cooperation in the supply chain, how the American food policy framework supports and hinders sustainability, landscape scale restoration, and new approaches to improve US domestic farm labor conditions.
Food System Alliance & Food Policy Council Listening Session
2011. At the request of California Department of Food & Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross and California Health & Human Service Agency Secretary Diana Dooley, the first ever meeting between the Secretaries and the growing number of California Food System Alliances and Food Policy Councils took place in Sacramento on June 24, 2011. Ag Innovations Network partnered with Roots of Change to convene and facilitate the meeting. The meeting had two goals: to inform the Secretaries about the work and priorities of the Alliances and Councils and for the members of the Alliances and Councils themselves to get to know each other and explore the potential for more cooperation. The meeting had a good turn out and the Alliances were well represented.
San Luis Obispo County Launches Food System Coalition
2011. In June the San Luis Obispo County Food System Coalition officially launched with a kick-off meeting featuring a presentation by Ag Innovations Network president, Joseph McIntyre on creating multi-stakeholder coalitions with a on focus on food. His wide ranging keynote covered basic food system concepts, the logic for and how to put together a food system coalition, and a survey of what California food system coalitions are currently focused on. The goal of the presentation was to both inform and inspire the group.
Bay Area Nutrition & Physical Activity Collaborative
2011. How Can We Be More Effective At Overcoming Resistance to Change In Our Organizations? This was the topic of a recent keynote address that Ag Innovations Network president, Joseph McIntyre made at the Bay Area Nutrition & Physical Activity Collaborative Membership meeting in May. The conclusion? Resistance is a natural part of the change cycle. Understand the cycle and you can help diagnose resistance and identify appropriate strategies for responding. Joseph’s presentation, Supporting Organizational Change for Healthy Beverage Sustainability, can be downloaded here.
Making Good Food Work
2011. Making Good Food Work was a three-day participatory conference and incubation laboratory that took place in April in Detroit, MI, and was designed to provide technical assistance, develop innovative solutions, and document best practices for distributing local and regional food, with a focus on underserved communities. Joseph McIntyre facilitated the event.
[Hub Gathering] Bay Area Food Sector Convergence
2011. On March 24, 2011, Joseph McIntyre will facilitate the Hub Gathering in Berkeley, CA, which seeks to connect players in the food movement and actively break down silos in the food sector by examining and populating several maps of sustainable food systems. The Hub Bay Area is a networking and event space for social entrepreneurs – it actively connects changemakers in different sectors to escalate their social and environmental impact, and hopes to play a role in facilitating those connections at the heart of the national food movement, the East Bay.
2011. AIN conducted facilitation training for CoFED, an organization empowering communities of students across North America to create financially sustainable campus hubs for food and social justice activism. Using an easily reproduced cooperative development model, CoFED is creating a scalable network of independent student-run businesses, with a commitment to share skills, resources, and eventually, start up capital.
Regulatory Coordination White Paper
2008-2010. Ag Innovations Network was commissioned by the California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment to coordinate the production of a white paper addressing barriers to, and recommendations for, effectively permitting environmental enhancement projects on California farmland. Please visit the CRAE website for more information regarding this project.
Regulatory Coordination Case Studies
2010. Ag Innovations Network compiled a short series of case studies to illustrate challenges faced by proponents of environmental restoration projects, as well as efforts that have been successful in minimizing these barriers. These case studies are intended to provide concrete examples of the regulatory hurdles outlined in the CRAE paper, Permitting Restoration: Helping Agricultural Land Stewards Succeed in Meeting California Regulatory Requirements for Environmental Restoration Projects. The case studies also include examples of effective collaboration among agencies and other stakeholders, highlighting positive models that have, in these cases, minimized one or more of the barriers addressed in this paper. The case studies have not been evaluated or approved by the CRAE consensus process. In order to provide a more complete picture of the featured projects, the case studies may reference barriers that extend beyond the scope of the CRAE white paper.
1. Apanolio Creek Fish Passage Project, Central Coast of California
2. Frenchmans Creek Fish Passage Improvement Project, Central Coast of California
3. Santa Cruz Partners in Restoration Permit Coordination Program
4. Enhanced Stock Pond Restoration through the Alameda County Permit Coordination Program
System on our Plates
2010. In October, Joseph McIntyre assisted the James Beard Foundation plan, coordinate, and facilitate The System on our Plates, a gathering of influential stakeholders to discuss the role of food service in food system sustainability. Post-conference, the Foundation produced a video (in which Joseph has a bit part) sharing a national dialogue on sustainability, public health, and the foodservice industry.
San Diego County Food System Working Group
2009-2010. AIN has provided technical support and facilitation for the San Diego County Food System Working Group as it develops an assessment of the San Diego County food system and recommendation for actions. As part of this project, we have provided food system training to participants, project coordination, and input on food system challenges. Download the final report, Assessing the San Diego County Food System: Indicators for a More Food Secure Future (pdf).
Market Mechanisms for Agricultural Greenhouse Gases
2010. Working with our partners, Blue Source and The Sustainable Food Lab, AIN co-hosted and facilitated an effort to engage agriculture in the potential opportunities for markets in carbon sequestration. Sessions were held in Davis, CA and Washington, DC. More information is available at Sustainable Food Lab’s climate and ag carbon markets page.
Farm Water Toolbox: Know your Risks, Plan for the Future
2010. AIN convened a regional forum hosted by CAWSI for the Northern San Joaquin farming community, entitled Farm Water Toolbox: Know your Risks, Plan for the Future. Growers, technical experts, and agricultural supporters gathered at the UC Cooperative Extension classroom in Merced to explore strategies for improved farm water management. Through presentations and group discussion, participants gained insight and resources for an improved approach to agricultural water issues. For more detailed information, see the presentations and the full meeting results (pdf).
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service West Coast Direct Marketing Summit
2009. AIN served as the lead facilitators for USDA Agricultural Marketing Service West Coast Direct Marketing Summit, “Developing Sustainable Foodsheds to Enhance Food Access and Nutrition.” This project involved conference design and large and small group facilitation. Download the presentations for more information.
California Agricultural Vision 2030
2009. AIN served as the lead facilitators for California’s State Board of Food and Agriculture effort to create a shared vision for the future of agriculture in the State. We designed and lead a 3-session public input process that has resulted in 8 recommendations to assure the long-term viability of the California food system. Visit the California Ag Vision site for more information.
University of California Small Farm Center Strategic Plan
2007. AIN led a one-day strategic planning retreat for the leaders and staff of the University of California Small Farm Center. As a result of the day, the team agreed to implement a broad array of new communications and intra-program collaboration efforts.