About the Collaborative

Contact Us

If you’d like to be kept informed about the Collaborative’s activities, email Director Winton Pitcoff, or click here to join our email list!

The Massachusetts Food System Collaborative (MFSC) was created following the completion of the Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan in December 2015. The goals of the Collaborative are to promote, monitor, and facilitate implementation of the Plan. The Collaborative's work focuses on the four main goals of the Plan: 

  • Increase production, sales and consumption of Massachusetts-grown foods.
  • Create jobs and economic opportunity in food, farming and fishing, and improve the wages and skills of food system workers.
  • Protect the land and water needed to produce food, maximize environmental benefits from agriculture and fishing, and ensure food safety.
  • Reduce hunger and food insecurity, increase the availability of healthy food to all residents, and reduce food waste.

The Plan provides direction for the Collaborative. Hundreds of people and organizations throughout the state contributed their voices to the Plan, and we engage this diverse range of stakeholders in working toward the recommendations in the plan. Our relationships with organizations, public sector agencies and policymakers, and other food system stakeholders around the state inform the Collaborative’s priorities. We work toward policy change that will contribute to a more equitable and sustainable food system by building broad support for advocacy campaigns and providing training and other resources to allow partners to participate effectively. We bring together players throughout the food system in an effort to demonstrate the breadth of the food system, and provide opportunities for them to work collaboratively. 

Through these networks, we lead advocacy campaigns around items in the Plan that emphasize cross-sectoral collaboration, support equity and sustainability in the food system, and have the potential for significant impact through coordinated grassroots efforts. These efforts work toward systemic solutions to targeted problems, increase communication among key stakeholders, and highlight and promote the sharing of best practices. 

Recent projects include leading an advocacy campaign to increase state funding for the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) which improves access to fresh, healthy, local foods for SNAP recipients and increases economic stability for local farmers. The Collaborative has also worked with food recovery and anti-hunger organizations to advocate for state legislation that would reduce barriers to donating food, thereby reducing food waste in the state. We also led a working group on farming and public health to address tensions between farmers and local public health regulators. We monitor food system bills being considered by the legislature, help to organize local food policy councils and other grassroots organizations, and are currently developing several other initiatives. To learn more about our projects, click here.

The Collaborative's steering committee is: 

  • Cris Coffin, Eden Pond Farm
  • James Harrison
  • Amanda Kinchla, UMass
  • Nathan L’Etoile, Four Star Farms / American Farmland Trust
  • Maria Moreira, World Farmers
  • Vivien Morris, Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition
  • Valerie Nelson, Water Alliance
  • Karen Schwalbe, ‎Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership
  • Liz Sheehan-Castro
  • Liz Wills-O'Gilvie, Springfield Food Policy Council

The Director of the Collaborative is Winton Pitcoff.

The Program Manager is Brittany Peats.

The Agricultural Network Coordinator is Jeff Cole.

The HIP Campaign Manager is Rebecca Miller.

The Massachusetts Food System Collaborative is supported by the Sudbury Foundation, the Henry P. Kendall Foundation, the Merck Family Fund, the Island Foundation, the Wild Geese Foundation, the John Merck Fund, the Ajana Foundation, and Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Collaborative's fiscal sponsor is the Franklin County Community Development Corporation.