© 2019 

The Process -
A Systems Approach

Farm to School has tremendous potential.

But harnessing the benefits of Farm to School is complicated. 

When we say farm to school, we are talking about a complex tangle of personal choices, school policies, food supply chains, weather conditions, regulations and legislation, educational standards, funding, and many more pieces to a larger puzzle.


One key decision or action can ripple throughout the entire system. No one is in charge, and everyone is in charge.
That's a complex adaptive system.

If farm to school is going to bring the change we desire, we need to act strategically to find a tipping point in the tangle.

Systems thinking can help us do that.

Photo by Molly Deegan

Strategic Mapping Framework


These are the steps of assessment we've taken: 

  1. What's our current situation? 
    What is the state of Farm to School in Connecticut currently?
    What are we trying to achieve, and how far are we from getting there? What does success and failure look like?


  2. What structure is causing that reality? 
    What are the different components of our system - people, policies, conditions?
    How do they relate to each other?
    Which ones drive changes in which other ones, and why?


  3. Where can we intervene to change that structure and reality? 
    Which of those factors are the most powerful leverage points?
    Which ones need to be addressed first?
    Which ones can we impact or change?


  4. How can we make structural, and then behavioral changes? 
    What actions can we take together to move those leverage points? Which actions will get us the farthest, fastest?


  5. How do we need to be, as individuals and a group, in order to create change? 
    How do we need to act and interact?
    How should we be organized?
    How should we move forward?


The Connecticut Farm to School Collaborative came together in 2019 to answer those questions through a strategic mapping process.

July-Aug 2019

  • Consultant engaged - Scott Spann, Innate Strategies 

  • Scott interviews eight groups of people, totaling ~30 individuals, to understand what their own goals in their work are

  • draft systems map created by Scott and the design team

Sept-Oct 2019

Nov 2019

  • The 2 Day Summit! Everyone, and more becomes part of the process to discuss the actionable steps. 

Complex Adaptive Systems? 


Picture a flock of starlings. Complex adaptive systems consist of many separate but interrelated parts.


They impact each other in complicated ways and respond together to external impacts.
When they work well together, they are far more than the sum of their parts. 

some photos from
our September
subgroup meetings!

Photos by Molly Deegan