Virginia Fresh Match (VFM) is a network of farmers markets and food stores across Virginia that offer nutrition incentives. VFM nutrition incentives double the value of federal nutrition benefits like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food stamps) spent at participating farmers markets and food stores.
VFM hired Local Concepts in 2021 to:
- Develop a planning process/work plan
- Support a Mission update and collect info on values and vision (survey and core review)
- Conduct training to help build a network mindset for leadership
- Complete and assessment of network operating procedure needs
- Develop network operating procedure recommendations
A Different Take
Virginia Fresh Match (VFM) is a statewide network of community food retailers, local farmers, and consumers that work together to lower the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables for people experiencing nutrition insecurity. Over the years, Virginia Fresh Match’s network structure has evolved from a hub-and-spoke to a network-of-networks. Local Concepts facilitated a process to update their operating procedures to better reflect their evolved network, including their commitment to shared leadership and decision making. We led a core team to develop the first draft of their operating procedures, and then facilitated a process for gathering and incorporating feedback from the broader network. Shared here are a couple of the final products including an illustration of their new structure and an infographic describing the roles and expectations for each of the network groups.
To support VFM’s goal of incorporating more equitable practices in their decision making, we trained the network leaders in consent-based decision making. Consent-based decision making means a decision has been made when no one present has any significant objection to the decision being made. It is a governance alternative to majority voting or consensus. It is a practice we learned from a consultancy called Circle Forward, which we have successfully used while managing other networks interested in distributing decision making among network members.