NAFSN is fostering a community of professional practice and supports the work of any individuals, agencies, and organizations that focus on agriculture and food issues in a community development context — from farmland protection or beginning farmer programs, to value-chain development, urban agriculture, food security and public education.



Learn more about becoming a member!  










TRANSITION TEAM (sunsetted in 2016)


STEERING COMMITTEE (sunsetted in 2016)


WORKING GROUP (sunsetted in 2015)







Folks in a fieldThe North American Food Systems Network (NAFSN) was founded in 2015 to offer leadership and technical skills training, networking, and other professional development opportunities for the burgeoning group of individuals supporting the development of equitable and sustainable local and regional food systems.


Members range from farm educators and community nutritionists to activists and scholars. The mission of this community of practice is to coalesce the current disparate group of practitioners, and build individual and collective capacity to solve pressing food and agriculture issues on the continent. Presently there are many innovative solutions and pioneering organizations working to address and understand the complex issues of food systems−for example, working to eliminate causes of food deserts, obesity, hunger, and other food-related human health issues as well as working to increase sustainable farming practices, ecological and economic health of farms and rural areas, and creating viable markets.


There is a need for a holistic collaboration and coordination between and among these efforts. Leaders are needed to guide and propel all these efforts, and NAFSN aims to provide the tools to build the necessary human capital and create a place for sharing and collective learning. NAFSN expects to see growth of competencies, increased best practices, and more effective targeting of resources as results of its efforts.








The impetus for NAFSN (presently a project of the Center for Transformative Action, a nonprofit affiliated with Cornell University) was a survey conducted in 2012 in which 1,300 respondents across North America, who identified as working in food systems, reported concerns about the viability of the projects they work on as well as their own livelihoods.* Citing the need for training in asset inventorying, economic impacts, and project evaluation, an overwhelming majority of the respondents expressed interest in joining an organization that would cater to their professional development needs. Some professional development training is currently available but not widely accessible, especially for those with limited time and/or resources. Download the NAFSN White Paper to learn more about the survey results and development of NAFSN.








To guide the development of NAFSN, a Working Group of over 100 individuals was formed, along with a smaller NAFSN Steering Committee to explore the options for structuring the network and advancing the vision. NAFSN is currently seeking support for the initial phases of organizational development including; developing the social networking platform, establishing organizational leadership and governance, and conducting a gap analysis between existing and required professional development opportunities (so NAFSN can best position its efforts). For more information about NAFSN contact Duncan Hilchey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..








To be developed by founding members.








REGULAR Membership Benefits


• Receive discounts on select conferences and workshops offered by partnering organizations (such as the Breakthrough Leaders Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems offered by the University of Vermont).


• Have access to professional development tools and resources on the website (such as a job opportunities and a professional development training calendar).


• Have access to technical assistance through the NAFSN mentoring program (cosponsored by NAFSN and the Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture and Food Systems


• Receive a subscription to the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (JAFSCD). 






FOUNDING Membership Benefits (available through Dec. 31, 2015)


All general membership benefits described above, plus:


•  Receive discount membership dues as outlined below, including a 5% discount in perpetuity. Participate in structuring the organization, including joining committees and selecting the inaugural board of directors.


•  Participate in the early planning of programs such as the NAFSN certification program.








NAFSN is being facilitated by the Thomas A. Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture and Food Systems, a fiscally sponsored project of the Center for Transformative Action (CTA), an affiliate of Cornell University. CTA, an educational 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is legally and financially responsible for all our project activities.



Office address: 295 Hook Place, Ithaca, New York 14850 USA



Customer service: For questions or technical issues with joining NAFSN, contact Amy Christian at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 607-342-0258. 


North American Food Systems Network, a program of the Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture and Food Systems (a project of the Center for Transformative Action, an affiliate of Cornell University) • Ithaca, New York USA • Copyright 2017 • All Rights Reserved • Hosted by Ancient Wisdom ProductionsQuestions or problems with our site?