"As food system leaders, we are now faced with an unprecedented level of awareness and interest in our sector.

We have an opportunity to leverage networks like NAFSN to ensure those working on the ground are connected, educated, organized, stewarded, and prepared to work AND advocate for the needs of the local food system."

- Nikki Seibert Kelly, Growing Local South Carolina

above: featured speakers from NAFSN's popular "Finding Your Future in Food Systems" series


The core values uniting members of the North American Food Systems Network are community, collaboration, innovation, integrity, justice, equity, productivity, education, and resilience. 


We envision a future in which food systems practitioners have the knowledge, resources, and support for effectively leading the development of resilient local and regional food systems; systems that both offer rewarding and economically-viable opportunities for producers, processors, and other players and provide healthful, safe, reliable, affordable, ecologically-sound, and culturally-appropriate food for all.


NAFSN is a professional association connecting people to opportunities and resources to promote resilient local and regional food systems in the advancement of equity and healthful food access for all.

Explore Our Framework



NAFSN follows a sociocratic-circle organizing method based on a simple & elegant set of principles:

  • circular, not hierarchical;
  • autonomous initiatives;
  • inward and outward flows of information; 
  • integrated administration;
  • decision-making by consent.

We strive to provide a solid foundation for effective, transparent, inclusive governance. 

All members are welcome to attend virtual Leadership Circle Meetings, 1st Wednesday of each month at 12noon ET.  

Request Invitation to Leadership Meeting.

Recognize what drives our collective work

At NAFSN, our mission stems from our collective knowledge that the world’s dominant food structures have undermined the well being of Earth and all its inhabitants, including humans. Urgent issues related to food and agriculture that reduce the resilience of communities include:

  • the ubiquity of diet-related human diseases
  • farmer economic insecurity, aging-out, mental health concerns
  • unjust and unsafe working conditions of farm workers
  • farmland loss
  • inability for new and BIPOC farmers to access farmland and resources
  • degradation of soil, water, air
  • confined, disease-prone livestock
  • disparities in rural communities
  • lack of local infrastructure supporting food processing and distribution
  • poor access to healthful foods in many communities
  • disregard for traditional knowledge of regenerative practices
  • climate change threatening food production
  • industrial food production contributing to climate change
  • multi-cultural foodways lost and replaced with cheap, highly-processed products sold as food

According to the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, effective solutions to these issues will address the interrelated challenges across both food and nutrition security and climate change and work towards transforming national and global food systems. This work will include strategies to promote local and regional food systems, which have been shown to reduce food waste, support local economics, increase the biodiversity, freshness, and nutritional value of foods, and reduce food insecurity.

NAFSN knows that this workforce requires unique skills, science-based knowledge, and trust-based networks. We offer learning and networking opportunities for practitioners at all career points (emerging, transitional, seasoned) to help this workforce become better known, valued, and engaged in driving meaningful change. We lean toward newcomers, and value lived experiences and activism as cornerstones of this profession.

Get Involved:

* Are you an established or retired food systems professional seeking to advance the profession itself?

* Are you a transitional professional seeking to apply skills you gained in another sector to the field of food systems development?

* Are you an emerging professional seeking networking support as you enter the first years of your food systems career?

* Are you a student seeking to start a professional chapter on your campus?

Fill out this form to learn more about NAFSN's leadership opportunities.