recent partners & projects
Food Systems Leadership Network Mentor and Advisor
Community-based and emerging leaders often lack the resources and support to grow and expand in service to their communities. With a focus on systems leadership development, sharing and adapting cutting-edge program strategies, and building operational and management capacity, the Food Systems Leadership Network (FSLN) supports, celebrates, connects and invests in the individuals and organizations tirelessly working to transform their communities through food.
Miles is a national mentor for the FSLN Community Food System Mentorship Program. He has provided executive mentorship to community food systems' leaders throughout the United States. Working with immigrant, urban, and rural communities, Kitchen Table Consulting has focused on leadership development, organizational capacity building, implementing racial equity and social justice in program design and execution, and creating community power and sustainability. As an Advisor for the FSLN Gamechangers Laboratory, Miles provides mentorship and coaching to a nationally selected team to catalyze breakthrough ideas, new approaches, and innovations for building community food security through community-based food systems.
Coalition to End Homelessness
Homelessness is an endemic issue throughout the United States. Often community agencies find themselves working in silos with limited resources and lacking coordination. Kitchen Table Consulting was brought on board by the Health and Human Services Agency’s Housing Options for Mendocino (HOMe) Team, in partnership with the Mendocino County Homeless Services Continuum of Care (MCHSCoC) to formulate an Action Plan for a comprehensive, collaborative, systematic approach to end homelessness in Mendocino County. Kitchen Table Consulting designed an extensive facilitated process with local community members, service providers, law enforcement agencies and government leaders from the Cities of Ukiah, Willits and Fort Bragg to create a strategic plan, steps for immediate action, and continued collaboration through working group development and guidance.
Cannabis Economic Development
The legalization of recreational cannabis in California has created the need for local governments and businesses to co-create plans to support equitable development of their local economies, farmers, manufacturers, and distributors.
Kitchen Table Consulting is the lead facilitator of ongoing design of multi-stakeholder collaborations to develop a 5 year strategic vision and plan for the County of Mendocino, local industry leaders, small farmers, and local businesses.
Local Food, Local Places
Numerous communities throughout the United States are seeking facilitated assistance to build their local food systems and revitalize their downtown and local economies. Kitchen Table Consulting delivered technical assistance for the EPA Local Food, Local Places program to communities in Farmington, NM and Phoenix, AZ. By working with local steering committees, KTC helped bring together a diverse community of stakeholders for two days of facilitated community workshops - resulting in detailed Action Plans and follow up guidance for implementation.
In 2018 Local Foods, Local Places supported 16 locally led, community-driven efforts to protect air and water quality, preserve open space and farmland, boost economic opportunities for local farmers and businesses, improve access to healthy local food, and promote childhood wellness.
Climate-Friendly Food Service
We can’t begin to affect climate change impacts if we don’t address school food. Enter, a few projects to help Friends of the Earth’s Food & Technology team advocate for healthy, climate-friendly food in K-12 and college campuses. Jen acted as organizer, vision-sharer and facilitator of a number of Healthy, Climate-Friendly Food Service regional forums and facilitated a group of coalition partners. She is also co-author of a national report Scaling Up Climate-Friendly School Food: Recipes for Success. Blended burgers are the vehicle for change on college campuses, through the Better Burger Campaign. KTC took the lead on this campaign, crafting messages and conducting individual outreach to hundreds of university and college food service and sustainability leaders and helped some of them introduce this concept, all the while, helping to build the supply chain. Let’s get plant-powered!
Neighborhood Resiliency Initiative
Healthy communities are active, participatory communities. Miles developed the Neighborhood Resilience Plan for the City of Ukiah, CA to empower neighbors in the creation of beautiful, safe, and healthy neighborhoods. Kitchen Table Consulting is the lead organizer in the engagement of multi-lingual and diverse neighborhoods to assess their needs, develop action plans, and implement strategies for neighborhood leadership and advocacy. An essential element of the process is facilitating collaboration between neighbors, City agencies, North Coast Opportunities – Community Action Agency, and relevant community stakeholders. Through door-to-door canvassing, neighborhood meetings, leadership trainings, and leadership coaching, Kitchen Table Consulting has helped form and develop the capacity of low-income, underrepresented, and historically marginalized neighborhoods to organize and advocate.
Partnerships To Improve Community Health
Lake County ranked in the bottom five counties in California terms of quality of life via the social determinants of health. With funding through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Jen directed a 3-year “Partnerships to Improve Community Health” initiative and led a local team to implement systems, policy and environment change in food systems and clinical settings. By enlisting the help of nationally recognized organizations, the team created a program and curriculum for a “Wellness Rx” pilot at a Tribal Health Center (with help from an exceptional Americorps VISTA); shifted restaurant menus with collaboration with the Culinary Institute of America’s lead restaurant consultants for Menus for Change; executed a food desert assessment and healthy store program with help from The Food Trust’s National Healthy Corner Stores Network; and designed and branded a “Be Well Lake County” and “I Am Lake County” advertising campaign to re-frame the narrative from “this place is so unhealthy” to “hey, there are inspiring stories and resources around here.”
Community Health Improvement Plans
Agencies throughout the country are developing these plans to improve local health determinants and to be compliant with state and federal regulations. Miles and Healthy Mendocino partnered with Mendocino County’s Community Action Agency, Community Health Clinics, Health and Human Services Agency, and Ukiah Valley Medical Center to create a unique collaborative that developed and completed a cooperative Community Health Needs Assessment. With the Assessment’s results, Miles facilitated a community summit and multi-stakeholder action planning as the foundation for Mendocino County’s Community Health Improvement Plan. Later, Jen designed and facilitated several mission and visioning workshops with the multi-stakeholder collaborative to achieve a unified forward path.
Mendocino County Food Action Plan
The food movement has been an important engine for reinvigorating declining agricultural bases and depressed economies throughout the U.S.. Miles was the lead facilitator of a two-year community engagement process to compile the guiding principles, goals, and actions in the Mendocino County Food Action Plan. KTC helped craft the communications plan for the launch of this living, guiding document for the Mendocino County Food Policy Council and the multiple and diverse stakeholders involved in its formation. This plan continues to drive the process of the regional food movement.
Food Purchasing Policy and Legislative Analysis
The Animal Agriculture Reform Collaborative brings together sustainable farmer, environmental, public health, social and economic justice, and animal welfare organizations to bring about systemic change required to establish a sustainable and just animal agriculture system. KTC wrote two white papers for the group: One explored food purchasing policy at major restaurants, grocers, schools and hospital systems and analyzed barriers and opportunities; and the other, analyzed animal agriculture and antibiotics legislation across the United States over a 10-year period.
ECOSUR: El Colegio de La Frontera Sur
Industrial, processed food has led to a deterioration of community health and local economies throughout the State of Chiapas, Mexico. Miles was invited by ECOSUR to develop and implement a training program in Spanish for 30 teachers throughout the state. The training guided teachers in the development and execution of community-based Action Plans for the communities where they teach and live. The goals were to build and sustain healthy, community based food systems and meet the unique needs of multi-lingual indigenous communities, rural and urban centers.
Sustainability & Food Systems
Culver Academies – a co-ed boarding school in Indiana – is developing goals, plans, and programs to improve operational sustainability. Miles advised Culver Academies’ Sustainability Director in the development of an integrated institutional food system through multi-stakeholder collaboration, curricular and staff integration, and grant and revenue based funding mechanisms. He also developed professional development plans for the Academies’ institutional food service to procure, prepare and serve fresh, local produce.