The creation of Nourishing Networks has been an organic process of experimentation and documentation and will continue to evolve as the networks mature and new lessons are learned. The first five networks and the courageous pioneers of what is today, Nourishing Networks, joined us in our vision to find new ways to “create a safety net so tightly woven, that no one can fall through.”
The motivation to do this work revolves around our country’s current systems for addressing basic human needs, like food and housing. The truth is, we are falling further and further behind because these systems were simply not designed to meet the changing realities that are plaguing our communities today.
Nourishing Networks exist to turn around that trend by helping communities unleash untapped resources that are limitless when harnessed within a different structure, but complementary system.
While networking is a very natural behavior for most of us, it is not seen as a natural structure for addressing issues of hunger, homelessness and other basic needs. Instead, we have been focused on building an infrastructure based on centralized organizations and programs. Adding a networking structure to our existing system will provide a way to more effectively connect organizations with the community and each other; a vehicle to find and fill gaps not currently being served; and a way to harness the wealth of untapped talent, time and resources that lay dormant in our communities.
The documents in this section are the result of this evolutionary work of the first Nourishing Networks and reflect what we’ve learned these past few years. Together, they provide important pieces of the structure that supports the organization and sustainability of self-organizing volunteer-led community work.
If your community is interested in exploring the idea of a nourishing network, these resources can help you understand the things that we believe must be present for this type of network to thrive. In short, they contain the ingredients that allow for a community to shift its thinking and actions to allow the benefits of networks to emerge. And Nourishing Networks Central is there to help support you in your journey.