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Value Chain Coordination: Bringing People Together

Guidance on hosting effective convenings


Value Chain Coordination (VCC) is the "soft infrastructure" that supports the success of Good Food enterprises. VCC often requires organizing events and opportunities for key relationships across the food value chain to flourish by engaging the right stakeholders, maintaining communication channels, and fostering a trusting environment. Examples include organizing stakeholder meetings, forming working groups, and bringing potential partners together.

We call this role "Convening."

Setting conditions right for an effective convening, with measurable impacts, is critical. This webinar provides guidance on hosting convenings by telling the story of two events: one where sellers and buyers are regularly brought together in a “Fest” – a celebratory, relatively low-stakes event; the other where specific actors within a complex value chain were brought together in a more focused working event designed to create a whole new product line.






Presenter Bios

Ann Karlen

Ann KarlenAnn Karlen has 20 years of experience in promoting local food systems. She launched and ran Fair Food from 2000-2017, a non-profit organization in Philadelphia that developed new wholesale markets for farmers and operated the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market. Since 2014, she has held the position of Faculty Director for the Food Hub Management certificate program at the University of Vermont. In 2018, Ann launched Third Wheel Cheese Company, a wholesale distribution business specializing in local and regional farmstead and artisan cheeses.

Sarah Rocker

Sarah RockerSarah Rocker is a PhD candidate in Rural Sociology in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education at Penn State University and researcher at the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, where she works at the intersection of food systems, agricultural change and development.  She integrates social network analysis (SNA) and network thinking as a framework to articulate patterns and processes of “soft” social capital infrastructure development that supports viable regional food economies.  She holds a Masters in Public Administration with a focus on food policy from The Evergreen State College and an M.A. from the University of Colorado. She has served as a founding steering committee member for the North American Food Systems Network (NAFSN) and is a current member of the Southwest Pennsylvania Food Shed Research Collaborative and the Pennsylvania Agroforestry Brain Trust.  She has been a part of university-led research focused on local and regional food access and food security; regional food mapping and transaction platform assessment and development; and direct, wholesale, and intermediated market channel technical assistance approaches.  Through consulting she works with agencies, businesses, and organizations on topics including: farmer livelihood strategies in integrated crop and livestock systems, value chain development planning for native species agroforestry crops, and coordination and evaluation strategies of food systems and value chain stakeholders.

Mark Brault

Mark Brault

Mark Brault is Co-founder and CEO at Deer Creek Malthouse, the first commercial malting operation in Pennsylvania since prohibition. Mark is a scientist, craftsman, and supply chain professional who has lived and worked in the greater Philadelphia area for the last nineteen years. He has a diverse background from research to commercialization through leadership roles in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and agricultural sectors. Mark has a track record of delivering value in various team settings through strong technical abilities and unwavering execution bias. He has a B.S. in Biology from Lafayette College, a M.S. in Immunology & Microbiology from Thomas Jefferson University, and a M.B.A. in Strategic Management from Villanova University. 

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