About Us

About the Partnership

The New England Food System Planners Partnership (NEFSPP) is a collaboration amongst seven state-level food system organizations, six-state agricultural, economic and environmental department representatives and Food Solutions New England (FSNE), a regional network that unites the food system community. Together, we are mobilizing our networks to impact local and regional food supply chains and strengthen and grow the New England regional food system. 

The Partnership’s founding members represent state-level food system planning initiatives in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont and first came together as an informal community of practice after meeting at Food Solution New England’s annual Summits in 2012 and 2013. We began meeting monthly in 2013 to share information on our state work and, over time, began collecting data on regional indicators we could track to better understand our impact. In 2019, climate change impacts focused our thinking on food security and the resiliency of regionally-based food production and supplies. We formed the Partnership in 2020, in collaboration with Food Solutions New England, to formalize our collaboration and to launch the New England Feeding New England project. 

The Partnership disseminates information on trends, challenges and opportunities to hundreds of groups across the region that connect with our individual state initiatives. We facilitate cross-sector discussions to illuminate food system challenges from multiple perspectives and work through our state initiatives to integrate community priorities into regional approaches. We serve as non-partisan conveners to encourage policy changes, public investments and supply chain coordination strategies that grow and sustain New England grown, harvested and value-added foods.

The Partnership works in collaboration with the regional Food Solutions New England network and in alignment with its New England Food Vision, and also in collaboration with state governments and groups supporting local and regionally-based food supply chains.

The Partners

Meg Hourigan | Martha Page
Connecticut Food System Alliance

The Connecticut Food System Alliance works toward a just, sustainable food system by fostering collaboration and alignment among the state’s food system actors and advocating for food policy and systems change informed by food justice. CFSA is working with network members to develop a state food action plan rooted in food justice to transform the Connecticut food system. This plan will serve as a roadmap for equitable food access, diverse ownership of food system assets, and sustainable, viable food production and distribution.

Annie Doran, Project Manager
Maine Food Convergence Project 

The Maine Food Convergence Project is a collaboration of network partners bringing together organizations, networks, groups and individuals to catalyze collective action towards a thriving Maine food system that is equitable, just and regenerative. Maine Food Convergence Project is fiscally sponsored by Third Sector New England, Inc. (TSNE).

Tanya Swain
Maine Food Strategy

The Maine Food Strategy is a statewide initiative aimed at facilitating collaborations where cross-sector sharing of expertise and resources support innovative solutions to food system issues and advance goals in the 2016 Maine Food Strategy Framework. The initiative accomplishes its work through partnerships which in 2022-23 include: the Maine Food Convergence Project, a collaborative promoting diversity and equity in leadership, participation and opportunities within Maine’s food economy and food movement; Selling More Maine Foods, a collaborative organizing resources and an annual webinar series for value-add food producers; and the Maine Food Policy Alliance Design Team, a policy coalition creating a cross-sector community organizing model that moves the expertise of people directly impacted by food system issues to the center of policy making that affects local economies, food, and the environment.

Darcy Cooke, Coordinator
Maine Network of Community Food Councils 

The Maine Network of Community Food Councils (MNCFC), founded in 2011, is a network of community-based food councils from around the state. We work together to amplify the great work that local councils do in their own communities, and to help each other be successful in our efforts. We do this through monthly meetings, resource sharing, annual summits, shared education and shared fundraising efforts.  We are committed to supporting each other, as well as the development of new food councils in Maine. We are also committed to collaborating with friends and allies throughout Maine, New England, and beyond to make real, lasting improvements to our food systems. MNCFC is currently a part of some exciting statewide collaborations including the Maine Food Policy Work Group and the Maine Food Convergence Project

Kristina Pechulis, Executive Director
Massachusetts Food System Collaborative

The Massachusetts Food System Collaborative supports collective action toward an equitable, sustainable, resilient, and connected local food system in Massachusetts. The Collaborative’s work is centered on public policy campaigns and building the capacity of food system stakeholders to engage in policy advocacy. Its priorities are driven by the 2015 Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan, which presented a broad agenda for issues ranging from farmland access and protection, to farming and fishing, to public health and food access.

Nicole Cardwell
New Hampshire Food Alliance

The New Hampshire Food Alliance is a statewide network that engages and connects people dedicated to growing a thriving, fair, and sustainable local food system in the Granite State. The NH Food Alliance connects and amplifies the incredible work of our partners throughout New Hampshire and New England by catalyzing collaboration and collective action between 150+ network partners. We work together to grow and sustain local farms, fisheries, and food businesses, secure healthy food access for all, build climate resilience, and ensure racial equity in our communities and workplaces.

Nessa Richman
Rhode Island Food Policy Council

The Rhode Island Food Policy Council is a statewide network of diverse food systems stakeholders with a shared vision to create a more just and resilient food system. The network’s mission is to move the system toward equity, accessibility, economically vibrancy, and environmentally sustainability. All of our work is in alignment with the state’s food strategy, Relish Rhody. RIFPC is led by 25 Council members, and hundreds of others actively participate in our work groups, advocacy initiatives, and educational opportunities.

Ellen Kahler | Jake Claro
Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund / Vermont Farm to Plate

Farm to Plate is Vermont’s food system plan. It is being implemented statewide to increase economic development and jobs in the farm and food sector, improve soils, water, and resiliency of the working landscape in the face of climate change, and provide access to healthy local foods for all Vermonters. The 15 strategic goals and 34 priority strategies contained in the Vermont Agriculture and Food System Strategic Plan 2021-2030 are being implemented by over 350 organizations (farms, food production businesses, specialty food producers, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, capital providers, and state government personnel) who comprise the Farm to Plate Network, a statewide collective impact initiative.

Karen Nordstrom
Food Solutions New England

Food Solutions New England is a regional, multi-racial, six-state network that unites the food system community around a shared set of values – democratic empowerment, racial equity and dignity for all, sustainability, and trust – and strengthens the movement’s ability to achieve the New England Food Vision of 50% x 2060. They are organized around 4 overlapping impact areas: Visionary Policy, Network Building & Strengthening, Racial Equity & Values Leadership and Narrative Strategy. 

Supporting Partners

RI Dept of Commerce / Relish Rhody Food Strategy

The Relish Rhody Food Strategy was established in 2017 to establish a vision and roadmap for a more equitable, accessible, economically vibrant, and environmentally sustainable food system in the Ocean State. Led by the Director of Food Strategy and supported by the Rhode Island Food Policy Council, Relish Rhody outlines strategic initiatives designed to further a just and resilient food system across five integrated focus areas: Preserve and Grow Agriculture and Fisheries Industries, Enhance the Climate for Food and Beverage Businesses, Sustain and Create Markets for Rhode Island Food and Beverage Products, Ensure Food Security for All Rhode Islanders, and Minimize Food Waste and Divert it from the Waste Stream.

RI Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM)

We strive to protect, restore, and promote our environment to ensure Rhode Island remains a wonderful place to live, visit, and raise a family.

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) facilitates, supports and encourages the growth and viability of agriculture in Vermont while protecting the working landscape, human health, animal health, plant health, consumers and the environment. Its Agricultural Development Division cultivates Vermont’s agriculture and food system through grantmaking, marketing, strategic collaboration, and connecting businesses and communities to vital resources. The agency envisions a thriving, dynamic agriculture and food system that is accessible to all Vermonters, sustains and strengthens the working landscape, and supports our communities.

New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food

The mission of the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food is to support and promote agriculture and serve consumers and business for the benefit of the public health, environment and economy. The Division of Agricultural Development works to inform the public of the value of New Hampshire’s agricultural industry, including understanding the diversity of businesses and products and to encourage the purchase of local agricultural products. It also creates and promotes market development opportunities for New Hampshire agricultural producers through trade shows, grant programs, and various publications.

Connecticut Department of Agriculture

The mission of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture is to foster a healthy economic, environmental and social climate for agriculture by developing, promoting, and regulating agricultural businesses; protecting agricultural and aquacultural resources; enforcing laws pertaining to domestic animals; and promoting an understanding among the state’s citizens of the diversity of Connecticut agriculture, its cultural heritage and its contribution to the state’s economy.

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) is the State of Maine’s support center for many land-based, natural resource interests. The Department balances and develops the state’s various land-based, natural-resources including Maine agriculture, forests, outdoor recreation and public access. The Division of Agricultural Resource Development (ARD)  is responsible for developing and implementing programs and policies to ensure that agricultural businesses remain profitable and sustainable. Programs like Real Maine focus on business development, market promotion, education and regulation to assure that agricultural practices are economically and environmentally sound.

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) supports, regulates and enhances the rich diversity of the Commonwealth’s agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture’s role in energy conservation and production.


Leah Rovner – New England Feeding New England

Leah is the Project Director of New England Feeding New England. She joined the Partnership in March 2023. Formerly she worked for Maine Farm & Sea Cooperative, primarily focusing on implementation of the USDA Farm to School program in two districts. Prior to that, she oversaw all aspects of daily operations of the specialty beer, wine, spirits and cheese departments at the Whole Foods Market in Portland, ME. Before moving to Maine in 2017, she was the Assistant Test Kitchen Director at America’s Test Kitchen in Boston, MA, where she oversaw all test kitchen operations. She currently lives in South Portland with her partner and two young children.