A national Community of Practice to support the leaders and staff of non-profit, community based organizations working on food systems change.

The Food Systems Leadership Network is a national peer learning community that connects current and emerging leaders, strengthens individual and collective leadership capacity, and fosters collaboration across communities. The Wallace Center resources and supports this learning network with powerful opportunities to grow, connect, and co-create a future where all communities are nourished and sustained through good food. Our programs, on-line presence, and engagement across the United States aim to strengthen and accelerate the movement for food systems change.

We work in three primary ways:

Strategic partnerships: we collaborate with community-based, regional, and national allies to align movement strategies, leverage our resources and skills, and increase access to ideas, expertise, and innovations.

Network weaving: we facilitate an inclusive, diverse, and robust network of food systems leaders, and encourage relationship building, information exchange, collaboration, and co-learning through stories, examples, and mutual support.

Skilling Up: we develop and offer an accessible and varied suite of opportunities for leaders to deepen their professional skills and organizational capacity via virtual and in-person learning settings that are both peer- and expert-led.

Members are able to:

  • Apply for mini-grants and scholarships for professional development and organizational capacity building

  • Sharpen your non-profit management and business skills in the Non-Profit Boot Camp E-Learning Series

  • Access tools, videos, podcasts and other resources to explore best practices and new ideas

  • Apply to attend regional Food Systems Leadership Retreats

  • Connect with Community Food Systems Mentors for individual coaching and support

  • Engage and share with peers via an online community

Connect to the network here.

For more information, contact us at FSLNinfo@winrock.org


Visionary Voices

In this first season of the Visionary Voices podcast, co-hosts Megan Bucknum and Hannah Mellion sit down with three nationally known and respected food systems leaders and mentors to learn about their personal leadership journeys, seek their advice for creating change, and discuss the value of partnership, mentorship, and leadership.

Search for "Food Systems Leadership Network" or "Visionary Voices" on your favorite podcatcher, or subscribe on iTunes ; Stitcher ; TuneIn


Lifting Up Leadership

A video series a of conversations with emerging and seasoned food systems leaders from across the country focusing in in on their unique personal backgrounds and journeys.


Initiative Background

Across the US, non-profit community-based organizations are key drivers of food systems change, especially in underserved and historically disadvantaged communities where market systems alone are not solving issues of access to healthy, affordable, sustainably-produced food.

Pie Ranch_Marcelo&youth.jpg

Community-led and community-driven, these organizations develop and implement solutions based on their community’s unique set of assets, opportunities, challenges and priorities. Some of the most creative and effective approaches to solving food insecurity, health disparities, economic inequity and environmental injustice emerge from this sector.

The Wallace Center, through its Community-Based Food Systems initiative, supports these non-profit community-based organizations as they build more equitable health, wealth, connection, and capacity in their communities through local and regional food systems development.

We facilitate capacity building and peer-to-peer learning among existing and emerging leaders and staff of community-based organizations, provide opportunities for sector-specific training and technical assistance, and document and disseminate our learnings to raise awareness of community-based food systems and accelerate their growth throughout across the United States. 

Join the Wallace Center's Community Based Food Systems mailing list here (you may also join any of our other mailing lists on the same sign-up page).;

How We Work

Baltimore Food Policy Initiative.JPG
Common Market 5 - farm stand.jpg

The Wallace Center provides targeted training and technical assistance to community-based organizations working to build community through food systems change. We work directly with leadership and staff from organizations to co-design and deliver relevant assistance addressing the challenges, barriers and opportunities they face in implementing their work. We look for opportunities to provide resources, information and support that address common interests and needs in the sector, while providing more individualized support upon request.

Some of our approaches include:

  • Coordinating the Food Systems Leadership Network

  • Offering peer-to-peer learning opportunities via webinars, trainings, conferences and site visits

  • Networking, information sharing, document review and resource referrals

  • Providing one-on-one consulting and coaching

  • Offering scholarships for professional development (conferences, workshops, etc.)

  • Documenting and sharing innovations, adaptations, best practices, and lessons learned

DSC_6684 (2).jpg