Program Overview and Purpose
Growth in the regional food sector is attracting interest from new stakeholders: regional planning and development organizations, community-based public health agencies, and the financial and technical service providers that make regional partnerships possible. Many of these stakeholders are engaging with regional food system organizations and practitioners for the first time, and are seeking guidance and exemplars within their own sectors to better understand the opportunities and challenges presented by regional food and agriculture based development. Building a bridge between community and economic development stakeholders and the regional food sector is integral to increasing the viability and resilience of regional food economies, and improving community vitality, health, and wealth.
The Wallace Center believes that developing and communicating a clear narrative that codifies the role of regional food economies in community and economic development is an important next step in evolving the good food marketplace. Connecting these stakeholder groups can make healthy, affordable, sustainably-produced food available to more communities while establishing reliable market channels for local and regionally focused producers. To do so, The Wallace Center seeks to accelerate and raise the profile of the efforts of innovators working within development stakeholder audiences as they pilot new approaches, establish new cross-sector partnerships, and build the case for regional food systems as a development priority.
Regional Food Economies Fellowship Program
The Wallace Center’s Regional Food Economies Fellowship Program will establish a cohort whose US-only individual projects and professional expertise will help provide models for successful engagement between regional food systems and community and economic development stakeholders. Through this program, The Wallace Center seeks to support a cohort of 6-8 Fellows demonstrating innovative approaches to using regional food systems as a driver of community and economic development. Fellows will be selected based on their professional experience and existing efforts to build the case within the following stakeholder groups:
- Regional Planning & Development (e.g. Economic Development Agencies, Regional Councils, Councils of Government, Metro Planning Organizations)
- Investment & Finance (e.g. Community Development Finance Institutions, Local/Regional Banks, Social Impact Investors, Philanthropy)
- Applied Research (e.g. Cooperative Extension, Small Business Development Centers)
- Agricultural Services (e.g. Farm Bureau, Farmers’ Unions)
- Public Health (e.g. Healthcare Providers, Departments of Health, Health-Focused Non-Profits)
Each Fellow will design a 12-month program further developing and communicating the case for United States regional food systems as a development priority based on the interests and values of a particular
stakeholder group. Through these individual programs, each Fellow will complete the following objectives:
- Deepening existing efforts and exploring new opportunities to position regional food systems as community and economic development priority. The Fellowship with provide more resources to accelerate and promote ongoing work, and provide a space to explore new ideas. In addition to working within the stakeholder groups listed above, Fellows will also advise The Wallace Center on future program development and expansion.
- Raising the profile of regional food within the stakeholder groups listed above. Wallace will support Fellows in presenting the work through conference presentations, peer meetings, and professional network building. This will also elevate the Fellow’s role in this area and give them a larger platform to share their stories.
- Developing new tools to help food systems practitioners apply best practices and engage new audiences. Tools might include:
- A presentation on effective messaging and key talking points when meeting with an economic development agency on including regional food development in their portfolio
- A guide to securing funding from a regional bank that lays out the required documentation and addresses frequently asked questions
- A set of cases that demonstrate some of the barriers inhibiting food systems investment, and lays out methods for overcoming them
- Participating in a community of practice around the goals of this work, and connecting with other Fellows through face-to-face convenings and digital networks.
The Regional Food Economies Fellows will receive a combination of benefits during the 12-month period of performance, including:
- Stipend in support of Fellowship program activities ($15,000 per Fellow)
- Additional financial support for travel and meeting expenses related to outreach and presentation efforts at national conferences and convenings (est. 2 conferences)
- Additional financial support for travel and meeting expenses related to face-to-face convenings of the Regional Food Economies Fellows cohort and peer practitioners (est. 2 events)
- Additional financial support to develop tools and resources to help food systems practitioners as they seek to apply best practices and lessons learned; or, access to service providers subcontracted by The Wallace Center to support tool development (to be determined based on each Fellow’s proposed work)
- An amplified voice and elevated profile in a national, cross-sector discourse on regional food systems as a driver of community and economic development
Each Regional Food Economies Fellow will be expected to track and report on progress towards completing the objectives and activities articulated in their application. Fellows will also agree to work
with The Wallace Center to monitor and evaluate the structure and success of this program including but not limited to periodic interviews and survey collection.
This Fellowship is available to US-based individuals affiliated with both non-profit and for-profit organizations, businesses, and institutions. Eligible Fellows have an established position within or deep engagement with one of the stakeholder groups listed in the Program Overview, and have efforts currently underway that align with the purpose of this program. Multiple submissions from the same Fellow (even where applications propose different concepts or stakeholder groups) will not be considered.
How to Submit
Applications must be submitted by email to RFE@winrock.org by 8pm EST on Monday, April 2, 2018. The Wallace Center will email notification that your application was received within two business days. If you do not have access to the internet or cannot submit an application online for whatever reason, please contact Ellie Bomstein at 703-302-6580 to notify us of your intention to submit a paper application. Paper applications must be postmarked by Monday, April 2, 2018. Please include a phone number with paper applications—The Wallace Center will call to confirm receipt. Late applications will NOT be reviewed.