Sustainable Food Systems Leadership Institute

The Sustainable Food Systems Leadership Institute (SFSLI), which ran from 2010-2016, was designed for leaders from across Maine with common interests in seeing and helping to create a food system in Maine that is local, strong, sustainable, just and healthy for all.

This program was founded on a philosophy that the best way to do this is to connect and support the people and the parts within the system so that they have the knowledge, skills, relationships and leadership sensibility required to successfully manage and support rapid transformation.

In Maine we have many young people who are contributing to an amazing array of food projects, yet too often we are so busy in our work that we are unable to take the time to connect together and develop deeper collaborations. SFSLI is creating a space for young leaders to explore possibilities together, to gain skills and to develop the relationships that are already resulting in resilient food projects in Maine.”  


Program Format + Goals

The Sustainable Food System Leadership Institute (SFSLI) curriculum strengthened Maine’s local food movement by offering participants a variety of learning opportunities focused on:

  • Network Development: Building the network of people and organizations working on this issue;
  • Leadership Development: Building leadership capacity (individual, organizational and network/movement);
  • Movement Building: Building the knowledge base, and core competencies related to strengthening the food movement.

The purpose of SFSLI was to prepare participants to effectively find and assume leadership roles in local food systems by creating a learning community that encourages:

  • personal and professional reflection
  • practical skill development, and
  • the expansion of individuals’ networks within and between communities in the local foods movement.

Future Plans

This program is currently in a phase of visioning and development. If you are interested in learning more about what emerges, please contact Deborah Bicknell.

Connections for Alumni

Alumni of the program are staying connected through Facebook and other reunion events. To get connected with the private Facebook group or connected to other alumni, please contact Deborah Bicknell.