What’s an Alignment Network?
Following a strategic planning session in September 2016, the Transitional Steering Committee agreed to transition the CFSA into an Alignment Network in 2017. An Alignment Network is a network in which individuals and organizations collectively identify shared vision, goals, and measurements to bring about a more just food system.
The CFSA will prioritize its work and activities around three major strategies: 1) Expanding the Network, 2) Boosting the Network, and 3) Aligning the Network.
Expanding the Network
While Connecticut feels like a small state, and this area of work in particular can often feel small, there is unquestionably a growing number of new entities across many sectors that have expressed an interest in the arena of food systems change. The CFSA must continue to welcome individuals and organizations to be part of the network.
2020 Goal: The Connecticut Food System Alliance is comprised of 1,000 food system stakeholders.
Boosting the Network
Networks that are bound together by convenient connections will not lead to systems change. Instead, a network needs to help connect members across forms of separation (geographical, racial, sectoral, hierarchical) in order to boost the flow of information and resources, thereby boosting the network’s resilience, adaptive capacity, and rapid growth.
2020 Goal: Members of the Connecticut Food System Alliance have access to mini-grant funds, workshops, time-banking, leadership training, and other tools for development.
Aligning the Network
Completing the ongoing tasks of expanding and boosting the network serves as the foundation for aligning the network. This alignment must be completed on two tracks: aligning the network within Connecticut, and aligning the network to Food Solutions New England.
2020 Goal: Members of the Connecticut Food System Alliance have the same vision, goals, and measurements to improve the food system and are aligned with the vision, goals and measurements at the regional level.
What is the role of the Connecticut Food System Alliance?
The CFSA has numerous roles which will facilitate alignment in the state toward a just, sustainable food system. They include:
Weaver: CFSA, as the sole statewide network for food systems work in Connecticut, must weave individuals and organizations across sectors and locations to one another.
Convener: CFSA is responsible for convening the various actors of the Connecticut food system.
Grantor: CFSA will continue to serve as a grantor in the state for low-cost, high-impact projects that strengthen local food systems and connect actors across sectors of the food system.
Celebrator: CFSA will uplift innovative food system work throughout the state. CFSA will also emphasize enjoyment of our food and environment as essential to a fair, sustainable food system.
Catalyzer: CFSA, having extensive knowledge of food system work in Connecticut as a network weaver, will be in a unique position to identify gaps where work is not being done and catalyze actors to address these gaps.