Throughout the coming year, we invite you – the members and supporters of ASAN – to be a part of a process of reassessing and realigning with our mission and vision, and defining a sound and strategic plan for how we’ll pursue those goals in the next few years.
The sustainable food movement has changed tremendously since 2001, when ASAN was first founded. Alabama has changed as well, as has ASAN. We try to keep pace with the changing landscape, to adapt our programs, outreach, and strategies so that they stay in sync with the values, needs, and priorities of those who make us up. But still, every so often this sort of “reset” or “recommitment” is needed, to pan out and take stock from a different, more intentional perspective.
These planning efforts will be spearheaded by a committee of ASAN staff, board members, and our facilitator Lindsey Mullen, but nothing can happen without the participation and thoughtful feedback of our members and constituents – ie, you!
Spring and Summer:
Throughout the spring and summer we’ll be holding gatherings to engage deeply with our members and supporters around the state. The first of these gatherings, in early March, will be specifically for past (and present) board members and staff, and a few other longtime partners. The latter 4-5 gatherings will be open to everyone throughout our network (exact dates and locations still TBD).
The goal of these gatherings is to build a shared understanding of the history, identity, and trajectory, both of ASAN and of sustainable ag in Alabama, more broadly. Who has a stake in ASAN, and what are our shared values and beliefs? What are our most pressing needs and challenges? We want to hear from y’all about where you see are the pressure points and bottlenecks keeping us from having a truly robust, equitable, and ecological food system in Alabama – and how you think we can best tackle those barriers.
These gatherings will help serve a role that has been served by the Regional Food & Farm Forums, the past few years – that is, region by region, they will draw our diverse constituents together under one roof, helping to better connect neighbors to one another. These gatherings will hopefully be a platform for more interconnectivity, collaboration, and social support, within different regions of the state. They will also allow us to very clearly integrate the roles and strengths of our partners, into the process of clarifying our own role and strengths. That way, we know we’re working WITH our people rather than competing with or duplicating y’all’s existing and critical food-systems work.
Fall and Early Winter:
The Strategic Plan Committee will tackle the tough job of synthesizing and organizing all the information gleaned from these gatherings. Once we’ve crunched and munched everything into a coherent plan, we will present our work back to you, the ASAN family, at the ASAN Food & Farm Forum, to make sure we got it right.
Notice we said Forum, not Forums – that’s because instead of the one-day regional gatherings we’ve held for the past few years, we will revert this year to a single, statewide, multi-day format!
Once we’ve confirmed dates and locations for the Food & Farm Forum and the regional stakeholder gatherings, we’ll post information here on our website, send it out by mail, and advertise via email and social media as well. Keep an eye out, and then, make plans to join us!
We are so, so grateful for the ongoing and wonderfully thoughtful support of an Alabama-based family foundation, without whom we could not be taking on this much-needed growth work.