Curly kale with rainbow chard in the background
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      Green bins of onion, carrot, and potatoes

      Cumulative, Iterative Change

  • Growing New England's farm to institution movement for over a decade, FINE:  

    1. Serves as the backbone for the farm to institution network in New England, supporting partners with key connections, tools, and resources to amplify their impact

    2. Catalyzes collaborative projects that address key barriers in the New England institutional supply chain

    3. Advances a policy and programmatic agenda


    Read on for highlights of FINE's impact, Summer 2021 - Fall 2022...

  • Renee Page

    FINE creates so many tools and models at the regional level that we routinely use in our R & D to build our network at the state level. FINE connects us and makes us all better.

    – Renee Page
    Executive Director, Healthy Communities of the Capital Area; and Coordinator, Maine Farm to Institution

  • This important work needs your support.

    Every little bit helps! Please consider DONATING today to support FINE.

    Click that donate button, or make checks payable to FINE and mail them to our fiscal sponsor:
    TSNE • 89 South St, Suite 700 • Boston, MA 02111 

    Thank you for your support!

  • Sector Spotlight: Farm to Early Childhood


    Two young children sitting at table

    Through the New England Farm to Early Childhood (Farm to EC) project, FINE is improving access to healthy, regional, culturally appropriate foods, nutrition education, and hands-on agricultural experiences for our youngest eaters.

    We see this as an essential strategy to address the systemic, race-based inequities built into our food and childcare systems. In the past year we have:

    1. Convened a regional community of practice of 15 food systems stakeholders.
    2. Conducted collaborative research to understand the social, political, and economic systems that influence the availability and quality of Farm to Early Childhood programming across the region.
    3. Coordinated the provision of technical assistance to each state to expand farm to early childhood professional development trainings for educators.

    As a result of this work members of the COP and regional food systems stakeholders:

    • Are more knowledgeable about the role of Farm to EC in creating a just and equitable food system
    • Are better connected to the stakeholders, funding, and policymakers that affect Farm to EC programming and accessibility in their states, and are better equipped to influence those systems.
    • Have gained valuable connections with leaders doing similar work and drawn on these colleagues’ support to advance their state Farm to EC work 
    • Have a broader understanding of what Farm to EC looks like across New England
    • Have a better understanding of the key challenges and opportunities to equitably expanding Farm to EC opportunities in each New England State
    • Have access to a set of recommendations for the region and each state that are orienting state and regional level work.

    In the spring this collaboration will continue to create a work and funding strategy based on these recommendations for the next phase of the project, and begin offering professional development trainings and mini-grants to educators that have completed those trainings across the region. 

    This project is funded by a USDA Farm to School grant and was developed in partnership with the Northeast Farm to School Collaborative.

  • As a result of the research, professional learning and partnerships within the New England Farm to Early Childhood Project, we were able to successfully advocate for the inclusion of early care in Rhode Island's Farm to School Strategic Plan. This will significantly elevate awareness around this sector and open up opportunities for funding, policy change, and partnerships. Ultimately, this will expand quality early childhood food literacy and nutrition equity in our state.

    – Alison Tovar, Associate Professor, Brown University School of Public Health
    – Heidi Hetzler, SNAP-Ed, University of Rhode Island

  • Sector Spotlight: Farm to Corrections

    Food is fundamental to us all, and is of critical importance to those who reside in our carceral system. Incarcerated people rely on the system for all of their nutrition, and they have few choices about what, when, or where they eat.

    This past year, FINE expanded our understanding of food in the carceral sector through research, relationship building, and strategic planning.  We:

    • Conducted Research. We teamed with students and faculty on three research projects to deepen our understanding of complex policy issues impacting food service operating conditions, and prison and jail gardens. Formerly incarcerated individuals provided candid insights into their experience eating, serving and growing food while incarcerated. 
    • Convened a Community of Practice. We brought together leaders in food service operations in departments of corrections in Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts to identify common barriers, successes and opportunities to improve food conditions. 
    • Built the Network. We engaged non-profit leaders in our region and across the country, including Vermont Works for Women, Salvation Farms, Impact Justice, Center for Science in the Public Interest, and The Maryland Project for Food and Abolition.
    • Hosted a Carceral Food System Forum. Nearly 50 attendees convened on issues of policy, prison and jail gardens, metrics and data collection, and prison food reform.

    FINE's work in the carceral system is supported by grants from Cotyledon Fund, the Whitehead Foundation, and the Gardiner Howland Shaw Foundation.

  • Sector Spotlight: Campus


    plates and silverware

    The New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network is a community of higher education and food systems stakeholders who connect, share, and collaborate to develop transparent regional supply chains and educate campus communities about regional food systems. Over the last year, we:

    • Expanded our network and outreach, connecting with 123 colleges (an increase over the last two years), including 21 that are new to FINE.
    • Increased accessibility of virtual events, via our webinars, including a Spanish-speaking presenter and ASL interpretation.
    • Increased the diversity of our network with targeted outreach to community colleges and BIPOC-led and serving organizations.

    Our work focused on timely issues including labor, food insecurity, the rise in food and packaging waste, and of course, values-based food procurement. By focussing on these issues, all exacerbated by the pandemic, our goal was to support action, share ideas, and elevate demand for change. We also contributed to FINE-led and externally-led research projects that help us better understand the changes in farm to campus over the last two turbulent years and to uncover solutions to ongoing challenges.

  • New Tools to Support the Network

    Adding to our existing tools like the Resource Database (400+ resources and growing!) FINE has added some new tools recently: 

    Farm and Sea to Campus Data Center Newly launched, this replaces previous campus surveys with an iterative, user friendly data collection tool that generates reports for institutions and streamlines the aggregation process. We hope to make this tool accessible to other sectors in the future

    Farm and Sea to Campus Purchase Tracker Supports colleges (and other institutions) in collecting and analyzing their purchasing data. It simplified the process of understanding values based purchases and makes it easy to set a baseline and measure progress. 

    Vermont Local Food Incentive Tracking Tools FINE worked with NOFA-VT, Northbound Ventures, VT Agency of Ag, and advisory group to develop series of tracking tools to support schools in tracking towards local food incentive. 

    Food and Agriculture Data Explorer Continued work with USDA AMS to enhance regional food systems work in the face of COVID-19 and other crises. Supported the development of new Data Explorer to streamline process of collecting food systems data. The Explorer aggregates data that was previously located in multiple places into one platform that allows you to view maps, build dashboards, download raw data, and upload new data. 

    Guide to Purchasing Non-toxic Foodware for Institutional Dining FINE is working on an EPA funded project to assess the risks of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in foodware in college dining. Our research, in partnership with Smith College, resulted in a series of recommendations for purchasing non-toxic foodware in institutions. 

  • Research Partnerships



    What drivers underpin complex farm to institution systems? FINE's research seeks to answer questions, and generate collective awareness and action. We work with a variety of research partners, including students, leading to new relationships, network expansion, increased funding, and policy developments.

    The following are just a few examples from the past year. 



    sun icon

    New England Feeding New England 

    FINE is one of 17 researchers participating in the New England Feeding New England project, a 10-year initiative to prepare the region for system shocks such as climate-related weather events and public health emergencies. NEFNE’s goal is for 30% of food consumed in New England to be produced or harvested in the region by 2030. The research team is conducting an in-depth exploration of the baseline starting point on route to our goal of 30% regional goal. That report will be available in early 2023.  

    Partners: The New England State Food Planners CoP, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund; researchers from American Farmland Trust, Northbound Ventures, Clark University, and others.


    watering can icon

    Gardening in a Carceral Context: A landscape assessment of Massachusetts county jail garden programs 

    In 2021, FINE partnered with a group of Smith students as they conducted a landscape assessment of Massachusetts county jail garden programs; they explored many variables, including the food they grow, where it is served, motivations for starting the programs, challenges in starting and maintaining them, and their impacts on incarcerated individuals. Their recommendations will inform an advisory group that will work with FINE to identify where the highest impact opportunities exist for our work in the carceral system. This research will allow us to be intentional about how we create long term, system changes to the quality, quantity, and locality of food served to incarcerated individuals. Download the report (PDF).

    Partners: Smith College 


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    Rhode Island Tracking and Traceability 

    FINE is working on a collaborative project in Rhode Island to define the need for a local food procurement tracking and reporting system. The final deliverable of our work will be a set of recommendations to Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) as well as a drafted RFP, which RIDE will use to procure the desired platform(s). 

    Partners: Karen Karp and Partners, Center for Good Food Purchasing, Digi Cyber, Rhode Island Department of Education


    cow icon

    Organic Dairy Market Demand Research 

    FINE is working with a variety of partners to better understand the potential markets for organic dairy products at New England Institutions. This research is a response to the ongoing crisis organic dairy farms in New England are facing due to the loss of long term contracts and the steep cost of producing high quality dairy products. This ongoing research is resulting in new  relationships and institutional markets across the region.  

    Partners: NOFA-VT, Northbound Ventures, Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership 


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    The State of Prison Food in New England: A Survey of Federal and State Policy 

    Over the last two years, FINE has worked with a team of students and faculty at the Vermont Law School to understand the policy foundations related to food in the New England carceral system. This includes federal, state, and facility laws, regulations, and policies related to contracts, nutritional standards, funding, and monitoring. Through this research, we are identifying opportunities to advocate for policy changes that will create lasting impact to the food system in New England’s prisons and jails. The final report will be ready in early 2023. 

    Partners: Vermont Law School 


  • What's Next? Rooted in Community

    FINE was just funded to support a new regional food system partnership of three New England communities in a three-year iniative: Rooted in Community: A localized approach to growing the farm to institution movement in New England. This will create a collaborative values-based approach to building a community-based food system that shifts the institutional power dynamics around race. 

    The three New England communities of Springfield, MA, New Haven, CT, and Cumberland County, ME, will serve as a cohort for shared learning and implementation of farm to institution initiatives in schools, colleges, health care, and the corrections system. The cohort is represented by community-based organizations: Springfield Food Policy Council, Cumberland County Food Security Council, and the City of New Haven Food System Policy Division, all of whom are already driving food systems change at the local level.

    infographic showing community relationships, cohort connection, and New England impact
    Rooted in Community: A localized approach to growing the farm to institution movement in New England.

    Three objectives will drive this project:

    • Community level: Plan and implement multi-sector community-driven farm to institution initiatives in three New England communities, ensuring authentic engagement with residents who are most affected by this work and prioritizing disinvested communities.
    • Cohort level: Establish a cohort among three communities for peer-to-peer learning, capacity building, and cross-cohort leveraging.
    • Regional level: Reinforce and grow New England's farm to institution movement by creating a dynamic and multi-directional exchange of promising practices, success stories, and relationship building opportunities between the community cohort and the broader New England network.
  • Liz O’Gilvie
    In this sobering period of uncertainty, I am buoyed by the opportunity for learning in this Rooted in Community cohort, which will inform our communities and hopefully others who witness our work together.
    – Liz O’Gilvie
    Director, Springfield Food Policy Council
  • FINE Faces

    Folks sitting at a picnic table at Knoll Farm in the sun.
    Some of the FINE Staff and Network Advisory Council gathered at Knoll Farm in July 2022 to connect, inform, and guide the collective effort of this network.

    FINE's work is guided by a Network Advisory Council, a team of deeply committed advisors who not only form FINE's governing body, but collaboratively shape farm to institution activity in New England. We are grateful to each of these professionals for their unique experience, passion, and commitment to improving our shared food system.

    FINE Staff located around the region bring varied experience, passion, humor, commitment and energy to proudly do the work that supports the network day in and day out - we are here to help you succeed in your efforts - and collectively, to mobilize the power of institutions to transform the food system.

    FINE Staff

    Peter Allison, Executive Director
    Britt Florio, Program Coordinator
    Hannah Leighton, Director of Research and Evaluation
    Sarah Lyman, Director of Communications
    Dana Stevens, Event & Project Manager
    Tania Taranovski, Director of Programs

    FINE Network Advisory Council

    Andy Cox, Smith College
    Karl Dias, Founder and CEO, FATBOY Foods
    Kristen Dunphey, State Campaign Manager, Share Our Strength
    Kyle Foley, Gulf of Maine Research Institute
    Shelley Goraj, MaineGeneral
    Christopher Howland, UMass Amherst
    Christine James, The John Merck Fund (ret.)
    Nancy Kohn, Health Care Without Harm
    Michael Lawrence, ML Design Studio
    Josh Marshall, New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food
    Melissa Motejunas, Native Maine Produce
    Renee Page, Healthy Communities of the Capital Area / Maine Farm to Institution
    Kirby Roberts, UMass Dartmouth Dining Services
    Jesse Rye, Farm Fresh Rhode Island
    Cara Santino, CitySeed
    Julianne Stelmaszyk, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation
    Latha Swamy, City of New Haven, CT
    Matthew Thompson, Harvest Table Culinary Group
    Charissa Zapata-Walker, Boston Waterfront Initiative, The Trustees of Reservations
  • Funding Partners

    We greatly appreciate all of FINE’s Funding Partners Our work and impact would not be possible without the generous support of funding partners who provide funds as well as essential guidance and connections that inform our programs, projects and network building initiatives. In FY 2022 (July 2021 - June 2022) we raised $649,130 from a diverse mix of funders, and had ending net assets of $709,904. Thank you to the followingpartners:

    impact report pie chart

    Foundations: ($570,000)

    • The John Merck Fund  
    • Henry P. Kendall Foundation
    • Cotyledon Fund 
    • The Daybreak Fund 
    • Whitehead Foundation 
    • Gardiner Howland Shaw Foundation 

    Federal Grants: ($41,696)

    • USDA FNS: Farm to School Grant 
    • US EPA: Healthy Community Grant Program 

    Earned Revenue/ Contracts: ($29,709)

    Contributions ($7,725)

    We want to offer a special appreciation to The John Merck Fund, who has been a foundational funder and thinking partner since our inception. This past year the fund completed its spend out plan and FINE received our last grant. Thank you JMF board and staff for being such a FINE funding partner!

    FINE is a fiscally sponsored project of TSNE

  • This important work needs your support.

    Every little bit helps! Please consider DONATING today to support FINE.

    Click that donate button, or make checks payable to FINE and mail them to our fiscal sponsor:
    TSNE • 89 South St, Suite 700 • Boston, MA 02111 

    Thank you for your support!