Social Network Analysis

Over 50 MFAN partners participated in the MFAN Social Network Analysis survey in the Spring of 2018. As a result of the survey we have identified key findings to support our goal of improving network experience for partners and identifying areas for self-organizing.

Social Network Analysis (SNA) is the process of investigating social structures through the use of networks and graph theory. It characterizes networked structures in terms of nodes (individual actors, people, or things within the network) and the ties, edges, or links (relationships or interactions) that connect them

Video Overview of SNA Results

Key Findings

Affinity for Current Action Teams

There is overwhelming interest in supporting the work of the Local Government Action Team over any other area of work within the network.​ The team has a long-term goal of creating a regional food system plan with measurable goals for advancing equitable access to healthy food in the region.

Learn more about the team

Affinity for Racial Equity

There is the strongest affinity for future work in the following areas: 

  • Organizational tools to build AND support a racially diverse staff (cultural competency, hiring practices, shift practices within the organization to welcome racially diverse staff, etc.)

  • Overall skill development for being an anti-racism ally (communicating about race, understanding white supremacy culture, etc) 

Affinity for Policy & Advocacy

There is the strongest affinity for future work in the following areas: 

  • Developing the skill set to support community members to get involved in advocating for food policy

  • Developing the skill set to advocate for statewide or national food policies (in alignment with your organization’s guidelines) 

Affinity by Sector

  • There is the strongest affinity for future work in the sectors of Policy & Public Health. 

Diversity of the Network

  • The network has a dense core - meaning there is a large group of highly connected partners in the network

  • There is a diversity of sector in the network, with the highest level of engagement from the “Food Environment” sector.

  • The network lacks diversity of gender, with the primary audience identifying as female

  • We know MFAN lacks racial diversity. More than half the respondents did not indicate their race, so almost everyone who indicated did so as white.

  • There is a diversity of roles in the network, with the highest level being from program level staff (boots on the ground).

  • There is a diversity of geographic representation with urban, suburban, and statewide, but very limited representation from rural.