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About Our Working Groups

The New England Farm & Sea to Campus working groups meet quarterly (or as needed) to connect, share ideas, set priorities, and work on projects. Recent activities and accomplishments include: sharing success stories and project ideas at the 2019 Farm to Institution Summit; hosting an on-going webinar series (see FINE's You Tube channel for recordings of past webinars); organizing campus farm visits; and the release of Campus Dining 201: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities for Farm to College in New England.

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1. Campus farms

Co-Chairs: Bridget Lawrence-Meigs & Maida Ives

The Campus Farms Working Group aims to provide an opportunity for stakeholders working at the intersection of food justice, environmental sustainability, food access, and healthy eating to discuss challenges and opportunities, as well as invite partners from the nonprofit sector to join us in conversation about what colleges and universities can be doing to forge deeper alliances within our communities to grow a stronger regional food system.

We will focus on growing the network of campus farmers in the region and supporting efforts to increase collaboration by:

  • Connecting campus farmers to each other and to the broader Farm & Sea to Campus Network to develop new relationships that help catalyze positive transformation in the New England food system
  • Providing virtual platforms (ex. such as working group calls, webinars, and newsletters) as spaces to connect and share best practices
  • Organizing the Campus Farmer Summit, which allows individuals and groups to meet in person to strengthen the network
  • Participating in the bi-annual Farm to Institution Summit – creating space for the campus farmer community to focus on shared issues and areas for growth and connectivity

2. Supply Chain Development

Co-Chairs: Kyle Foley & Mike Webster

The Supply Chain Development Working Group identifies and develops supply chain models that increase the availability and accessibility of local, sustainable food for campuses. It facilitates coordination and communication between supply chain partners (campuses, distributors, suppliers, producers, etc.) to identify and leverage opportunities to aggregate demand and improve sourcing and distribution processes. 

In order to carry out this work, the working group is likely to consider the following:

  • Identifying best practices around existing successful distribution and traceability models
  • Identifying gaps and needs, possibly in partnership with the evaluation working group
  • Facilitating connections and matchmaking between producers, processors, distributors, and campus buyers
  • Identifying shared sourcing interests and provide a platform for aggregating demand from multiple campuses, which could lead to collective purchasing, coordinated distribution, shared infrastructure opportunities, and more informed market opportunities for producers and the supply chain
  • Considering opportunities to streamline campus demand (whether specific product specifications, reporting information, investments in infrastructure, etc) and decrease contradictory “asks” from different campuses – while acknowledging that campuses are varied in their needs and beliefs

3. Evaluation & Tracking

Chair: Andy Cox 

The Evaluation & Tracking Working Group proposes indicators that will help the Farm & Sea to Campus Network determine the success of their efforts, review and assess existing evaluation and metrics tools, provide recommendations for next steps around data collection and analysis, and specifically consider recommendations for improved tracking and traceability for local foods in the region.

In order to carry out this work, the working group is likely to consider the following:

  • Brainstorming and discussing the key indicators of success for the Farm & Sea to Campus Network in New England that can be used by the Network and its working groups to assess their effectiveness over time
  • Conducting research to capture a list of the current farm & sea to campus indicators and measurement tools being used in New England (this includes FINE's Metrics Project and Farm & Sea to Campus Survey, the Real Food Challenge Calculator, AASHE STARS, food service management company tools, and others) 
  • Evaluating the existing indicators and tools and discussing their effectiveness and impact as related to the network’s indicators of success, and then preparing a report that highlights their similarities and differences
  • Creating a memo that suggests potential next steps, including the identified needs for additional data collection, measurement, and analysis that can be done either in partnership with other entities or separately
  • Specifically considering recommendations for improved tracking and traceability of local foods in New England, including opportunities to standardize or share practices and criteria
  • Providing a framework to other network working groups to evaluate their projects in relation to the network’s indicators of success.

Have an idea for collaboration and want to start a new working group? Email [email protected].