On June 13, more than 60 local food champions assembled for an interactive and uplifting day of learning, sharing, and connecting. The annual RIFPC Network Retreat helps set the tone for the entire year, provides the time and space needed to make meaningful connections, find common ground on goals and ideals, and guides the direction of policy priorities for the coming year. The retreat also provides an annual opportunity to formally re-ground our commitment to a just and resilient food system, build new relationships, and reflect on the past year.
Hosted at Providence’s historic Southside Cultural Center, the day opened with a land acknowledgment by Network Director Nessa Richman, a reading of RIFPC’s Commitment to Equity and Justice by Council member Raul Figueroa, followed by a joyful call-and-return exercise and song led by Council member Raffini, and two separate sessions of networking and idea-sharing that helped participants better understand each other’s backgrounds and core values. The group also journeyed through the 2023 legislative session timeline, how it relates to what’s happening across the network, and policy progress updates, led by Associate Director Josh Daly. The end of the day concluded with strategy sessions for work groups, inviting new participants from across the network and fielding priorities for the coming year for issue areas identified throughout the last year: Cottage Food, Equity, Farm Bill, Farming & Farmland Preservation, Fisheries, Food Donation Incentivization for RI Businesses, Healthy School Meals for All, Outreach & Engagement, Policy, Second-Stage Food, SNAP Benefits, and Urban Land Access.
New this year, in response to a recent restructuring of the Council, each group will elect 1-2 representatives who will form a Steering Committee, who ultimately guide the work of the Council.
Council members will gather again for the annual Policy Retreat on September 5 at the Warwick Library. The Policy Committee is developing an agenda to support the needs and demands developed at this Network Retreat.
Click here to learn more about how you can get involved in our work groups.