We pride ourselves on being transparent, so we'll say this right up front.
This work takes funding. Please consider DONATING today to support FINE.
Click that donate button, or make checks payable to FINE
and mail them to our fiscal sponsor:
TSNE • 89 South St, Suite 700 • Boston, MA 02111
Thank you for your support!
I've come to recognize and earnestly rely on FINE's cross-cutting network of creative thinkers and doers. I gain inspiration and new knowledge through the valuable and trusted relationships I've developed, which guide me in my efforts to create a sustainable and just food system in New Haven, CT and beyond.
- Latha Swamy
Director of Food System Policy at the City of New Haven, CT
Member of FINE's Network Advisory Council
We are overwhelmed and humbled at the extraordinary adaptations this network has made - continues to make - in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As soon as the crisis emerged, members of this network jumped to support one another. FINE hosted a series of digital Open Forums where members brainstormed and shared innovative solutions. FINE created a matchmaking spreadsheet to connect institutional food gaps with surplus - a resource that was replicated in at least five states.
FINE joined 15 other communities of practice from around the country in a Cooperative Agreement to support local and regional food systems during the pandemic. The project culminated in 8 webinars, over 15 innovation briefs (FINE co-authored Pre-K and K-12 schools as access points for local food and Healthcare CSAs and local retail outlets), nearly 30 impact assessments, and a cross-sectoral resource hub that contains over 180 resources related to local food system response to COVID-19.
Ongoing labor and supply chain disruptions continue to pose significant channels, and inspire impressive response. FINE is in active discussions in the region and nationally to support the network.
FINE Convenes the Network: 4th Biennial F2iSummit
|Hours of Programming
The virtual 2021 Northeast Farm to Institution Summit brought together more than 600 stakeholders from 36 states (plus DC, Canada, Mexico, and Bangladesh!) to generate ideas and connections that advance the ability of the Northeast to support viable farm, food, and sea businesses and healthy, just communities.
The 2021 Summit took place amidst great upheaval in our country and our food system. The theme, Reflection, Resilience, Renewal, allowed us to simultaneously acknowledge our past; honor innovation and adaptability; and plan for a more equitable, resilient future.
For three days in April 2021 - over a virtual platform called Whova - we shared stories, made connections, generated energy, and co-created strategies for addressing the most pressing challenges for our regional food system.
The 2021 F2iSummit's three keynote sessions featured food system leaders Liz O'Gilvie, Director of the Springfield Food Policy Council; Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, Founding Pastor of New Roots AME Church; Latha Swamy, Director of Food System Policy at the City of New Haven CT; Randall Liberty, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Corrections; Jesse Rye, Co-Executive Director at Farm Fresh Rhode Island; and Navina Khanna, Executive Director, HEAL Food Alliance:
F2iSummit, In Your Words ...
FINE Empowers the Next Generation of Leaders
FINE works with students and recent graduates in the hopes that our collaborative work will empower the next generation of food system leaders. Over the past two years, FINE's growing team included part-time positions to support events, research, communications, and programs. Each of these folks brought their unique experiences, broad skills, and inspiring leadership to the team. Their contributions have led to the impacts you see here, and ones that will ripple into the future.
FINE Leads & Collaborates: Research
All of these - and nearly 400 more farm to institution resources - are available in FINE's searchable Resource Database.
Collaborative research is core to FINE's mission, and helps identify key barriers in the New England institutional supply chain. Here are just a few research questions that are fueling current collaborative projects:
- Can food create a bridge between Indigenous communities and land grant universities? FINE advised a group of Smith College students as they listened, reflected, and learned more about how complicated this question is, and suggest critical next steps to improve those relationships and build genuine partnerships.
- What impacts has COVID-19 had on packaging waste produced at colleges? FINE embarks on EPA-funded collaborative research with Smith College investigating harmful PFAS chemicals prevalent in foodware. This work builds on recent research from Smith College studets on the impacts of Covid-19 on packaging waste at five MA colleges.
- Is there a connection between regional food procurement and food sovereignty on college campuses? FINE worked with Tufts researchers to answer this question in an exploratory justice-based investigation.
- How can successes in the farm to school movement be applied to the early childcare and education sector? With funding from USDA, FINE is partnering with Northeast Farm to School Collaborative and many other stakeholders to better understand and support Farm to ECE in New England.
- What are the successes and challenges of farm to corrections in VT and MA? FINE partners with Impact Justice and Smith College to understand the corrections landscape and develop recommendations for state decision makers.
- How are New England health care facilities thinking about food access during the pandemic? FINE, Health Care Without Harm, and the University of Vermont surveyed and interviewed northern New England facilities to understand their role as anchor institutions during COVID-19.
- How much of New England seafood arrives in New England markets and institutions? FINE is advising a University of New England master's student research project.
- How can we measure “local food” in a meaningful and consistent way? The National Farm to Institution Metrics Collaborative -- of which FINE is a founder, steering committee member, and facilitator - published its shared farm impact metrics which can now be used by farm to institution practitioners across the country.
FINE Learns & Amplifies: Webinars & Other Convenings
In the past two years, FINE has hosted, produced, and joined webinars which convene experts, share best practices, and amplify the work of this network. We know that this impact goes beyond attendance, but in the six webinars FINE hosted, more than 400 seats were pulled up to screens to view live, and many more view the recordings. Together in these programs, we learned about campus food pantries, prison labor, seafood at institutions, Rhode Island food to institution, bees and social change, and more. You can view all of FINE's webinars and presentations on FINE's YouTube Channel.
FINE and UMass Dartmouth co-hosted more than 300 folks at the virtual New England Sea Summit in February 2021. The day of presentations focused on leveraging institutions to support local seafood producers, kelp and underutilized species.
Campus Farmer Summit
As one of our last in-person gatherings before the pandemic, FINE hosted 160 folks at the the New England Campus Farmer Summit in February 2020 at Stonehill College in Easton, MA. Together, we highlighted the value of campus farms and growing spaces.
I feel like I've been kickstarted into a lot of questions about what we could be doing better at my school! I have some emails to send...
- Attendee, Campus Food Pantry Webinar
FINE Values our Funding Partners
FINE's work is funded by a mix of foundation grants, government grants, sponsorships, fee for service contracts, and supporters like you. A hallmark of our success is engaging funding partners in developing our strategy and executing our mission.
The John Merck Fund has supported FINE for ten years. We know we can count on them to help people from all across the New England farm to institution supply chain - in all aspects of ag and policy and public education - to come together and solve problems. While the foundation will complete our ten-year spend out this year, we are confident that the FINE network will continue making a critical contribution to the more resilient, equitable and healthy food system we all envision for our region.- Christine James, The John Merck Fund
We are deeply grateful to individual supporters like YOU!
And to The John Merck Fund, Henry P. Kendall Foundation, High Meadow Fund, The Whitehead Foundation, Cotyledon Fund, Gardiner Howland Shaw Foundation, Sponsors of the F2iSummit, USDA, EPA, and those who entrust us with contract work.
FINE Continues its Commitment to Justice
We envision an equitable and just food system that provides access to healthy and abundant food for all New Englanders, and is defined by sustainable and productive land and ocean ecosystems. Racial and environmental justice are central tenets of a just and sustainable food system. The current system that excludes many for the reward of a few is neither just nor sustainable.
We at FINE acknowledge that ensuring justice requires relentless and daily work - and that this work must happen both inside our organization, and outside in the broader food system. FINE is proud of the racial equity work to which we have already committed - and we lean into the uncomfortable understanding of how much still remains to be done.
FINE is proud of the racial equity work to which we have already committed. As we continue this long journey, we welcome your feedback and invite your participation.
FINE's Network Advisory Council Guides the Work
FINE's work is guided by a Network Advisory Council, a team of deeply committed advisors who not only form FINE's governing body, but collaboratively shape farm to institution activity in New England. We are grateful to each of these professionals for their unique experience, passion, and commitment to improving our shared food system.
FINE Staff located around the region bring varied experience, passion, humor, commitment and energy to proudly do the work that supports the network day in and day out - we are here to help you succeed in your efforts - and collectively, to mobilize the power of institutions to transform the food system.
Please consider DONATING today to support FINE.
Click that donate button, or make checks payable to FINE and mail them to our fiscal sponsor:
TSNE • 89 South St, Suite 700 • Boston, MA 02111
Peter Allison, Executive Director
Britt Florio, Program Coordinator
Hannah Leighton, Director of Research and Evaluation
Sarah Lyman, Communications Manager
Dana Stevens, Event & Project Manager
Tania Taranovski, Director of Programs
FINE Network Advisory Council
|Andy Cox, Smith College
Laura Edwards-Orr, Center for Good Food Purchasing
Kyle Foley, Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Shelley Goraj, MaineGeneral
Christopher Howland, UMass Amherst
Lauren Kaskey, Health Care Without Harm
Randall Liberty, Maine Department of Corrections
Josh Marshall, New Hampshire Farm Bureau
|Renee Page, Healthy Communities of the Capital Area / Maine Farm to Institution
Kirby Roberts, UMass Dartmouth Dining Services
Annie Rowell, Vermont First at Sodexo
Jesse Rye, Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Cara Santino, CitySeed
Julianne Stelmaszyk, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation
Latha Swamy, City of New Haven, CT
Charissa Zapata-Walker, Massachusetts Farm to School
Thank you for supporting our work!