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Networking

Transitioning to a real democracy is best facilitated by transparent and public networking. This is especially true as we attempt to ground the new democracy in a food & farm system that supports everyone. The internet provides many tools for this purpose. These are my preferred methods for communicating and networking as publicly as possible.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter
My hands-down preference is Twitter. It is visually simple and straightforward and most Twitter users want to be public because they’re interested in public things — policy, media, issues, etc.

LISTSERVS (email groups)

There are many food-and-farm listservs, serving different geographies, different food system components, and different policy agendas. Not all of them are public, partly because listservs are the oldest internet format for inter-personal communication. The ones that I have found most useful and complementary to each other are the following:

U.S. & NORTH AMERICA

COMFOOD — Community Food Security
All-purpose community food security (food-and-farm systems)
Probably the oldest and largest food & farm listserv
https://elist.tufts.edu/wws/info/comfood
6000 members
national, North American, some international
Tufts University group (not publicly archived, self-moderated)

Food Policy Networks – FPN
Supports food policy councils, local and state policy-making
https://lists.johnshopkins.edu/sympa/info/fpn-clf
1100 members
Johns Hopkins Univ. group (publicly archived, not self-moderated, anyone can post)

North American Food Systems Network – NAFSN
Supports professional development for food systems people
NAFSN-L-request@cornell.edu
https://www.it.cornell.edu/services/elist/howto/user/custom.cfm
Cornell University (not sure if it’s publicly archived – self-moderated)

Women, Food, and Agriculture Network – WFAN
Supports women farmers, women landowners, and women in food & farm politics
https://groups.google.com/a/wfan.org/group/list/
370 members
Google Group (publicly archived, self-moderated)
Supposedly national, but still predominantly Midwest; WFAN is based in Ames, Iowa
Note: In my opinion, considering that 70-80% of food & farm practitioners in the U.S. are women, WFAN has not made good use of its listserv if it wants to be a national organization. With new leadership in 2019, perhaps that will change.

REGIONAL – Midwest

Regeneration Midwest
Regional group created in 2017 for the purpose of promoting regenerative agriculture
150 members
12 states: IL IN IA KS MI MN MO ND NE OH SD WI
Google group (self-moderated)
Listserv manager: Kaare Melby, Organic Consumers Assn.

GoodGreens – not a listserv but an essential e-list for the Midwest
Monthly networking meeting and twice monthly newsletter
6 Midwest states (IL, IN, WI, MN, OH, MI)
USDA Food & Nutrition Service, Midwest Office (downtown Chicago)
Contact: Alan Shannon, Public Affairs Director, is the facilitator ALAN.SHANNON@fns.usda.gov

STATE

Illinois Local Food and Farms Coalition – ILFFC
Statewide, all-purpose; created in 2007 to support the Illinois Food, Farms, & Jobs Acts and all future statewide food-and-farm policy
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/IllinoisLocalFoods/info
250 members
Illinois
Yahoo Group (self-moderated)

LOCAL

Advocates for Urban Agriculture – AUA
All-purpose food-and-farm systems listserv, especially all forms of urban agriculture
https://groups.google.com/group/advocates-for-urban-agriculture
2100 members
Greater Chicago
Google Group (publicly archived, self-moderated)

CONFERENCE CALLS and WEBINARS

(details to come)

BLOGS

(details to come)