The Wallace Center works across the good food value chain to build resilient and equitable communities where all people have access to culturally appropriate food, health, and opportunity. We take a systems approach to facilitating networks, building relationships, and nurturing community-based leadership. We cultivate relationships of trust and solidarity among food systems leaders – at the local, regional, and national level – and provide platforms for sharing knowledge and skill, building collective power, and acting collaboratively to transform the food system.
Through the Food Systems Mentorship Program, the Wallace Center matches seasoned leaders to serve as thought partners and coaches for four months of one on one mentorship. Mentees engage with mentors as thought partners and coaches, exploring their interests and challenges related organizational and personal leadership, integrating a racial equity lens to their work, and technical areas of food systems work. These mentoring relationships provide an opportunity for inter-generational dialogue, personal and professional development, and provide the encouragement to persevere through the inevitable disappointments and frustrations that are part of social change work.
Wallace Center’s Pasture Project has been working with a broad range of stakeholders in agriculture in Illinois to identify strategic priorities for expanding regenerative grazing in the state. Thus far, the team has conducted interviews, written a white paper on the findings and analysis from those interviews, and held an in person strategy meeting in the fall of 2019.
The Leadership Retreats are 2.5-day facilitated convenings of food systems leaders that dig deep into the tools of systems leadership and systems thinking for social change. These Retreats provide practitioners with the time and space to learn, practice, and refine the tools of systems leadership, reflect upon their personal and professional leadership journeys, and build relationships of solidarity with their peers. Retreats are regional in nature to more intentionally foster relationships and collaborations among individuals working in similar geographies and contexts.