Every member of the science of food community is important and brings unique knowledge, skills, and experiences to the table. Yet too often, we don’t embrace the richness of our differences, leaving many to feel unsupported, unwanted, and unworthy.
As part of IFT’s ongoing commitment to DEI, it became clear that IFT members from communities who have historically been underrepresented and under supported would benefit from a supportive space for collaboration and peer support. Member Resource Groups are designed to support the needs and challenges of these communities as they work with IFT to address barriers and inequities in the organization, the science of food profession, and food science programs at colleges and universities.
What are Member Resource Groups?
IFT Member Resource Groups are identity-based groups created and run by members from communities that have historically been underrepresented and undersupported in the organization and/or science of food profession. Resource groups will serve as a space to create community and strategically collaborate to address challenges and opportunities members commonly experience.
Currently, there are two active resource groups.
Why does IFT have Member Resource Groups?
Over the last four years, IFT has consistently worked to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles into the organization from a people and process perspective. As part of this work, it became clear that IFT members from communities who have historically been underrepresented and undersupported would benefit from a supportive space for collaboration and peer support, and IFT’s DEI strategy would benefit from their insights and input. In creating Member Resource Groups, IFT aims to support the needs and challenges of these communities and work with them to address barriers and inequities within IFT, the science of food profession, and food science programs at colleges and universities. The Member Resource Groups will act as strategic partners in building a more inclusive IFT.
Who runs the Member Resource Groups?
Member Resource Groups are led by IFT members. Each group has a core team of volunteers who ensure there is a strategic vision for the group, action plans to achieve expected outcomes, and opportunities for community building. The core team of volunteers works closely with IFT’s senior manager of DEI and International Programs to ensure alignment with the organization’s DEI roadmap.
If you want to learn more about the teams currently guiding the path of the resource groups, view the Members tab in the African American, African, Black Resource Group and Women’s Resource Group on IFT Connect.
What is the relationship between the Member Resource Groups and IFT’s commitment to DEI?
The IFT Member Resource Groups are an important component of IFT’s DEI roadmap. It is a priority for IFT to give communities that have been underrepresented and undersupported a platform to connect and support each other. Each resource group also offers IFT an opportunity to build relationships and amplify the voice of those who previously may have felt voiceless. They also help IFT understand the needs and challenges of these communities so we can more effectively engage and serve these important populations within the science of food community.
What does it mean to be part of a resource group with which you identify?
All IFT members are welcome to join the active IFT Member Resource Groups. As a member, you will be part of a community of support and learning committed to building a more inclusive and equitable IFT and science of food profession.
When you join a resource group with which you identify, you’ll be invited to community activities, receive resources that support your DEI journey, and be encouraged to add your voice to group conversations. You will also be invited to engage in the group’s IFT Connect community.
Both of our active resource groups are committed to creating a supportive space for their members. When you join a resource group, you become an important voice shaping the growth of the group and a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the science of food.
What does it mean to be part of a resource group as an ally?
As an ally, you will be a member of the resource group of your choosing. Joining as an ally recognizes that you haven’t lived the experience of those who hold the identity centered by the resource group. More importantly, it recognizes that you are on a path of learning about the way your identities contribute to your life and the lives of others as a professional in the science of food. In doing so, you are able to use your influence to create a more inclusive and equitable environment within your company, the profession, and IFT. To learn about allyship, please consider viewing the following:
Who can join the Member Resource Groups?
All IFT members are welcome to join one or more IFT Member Resource Groups.
How can I join?
IFT members can join one or both resource groups by updating their preferences through their IFT member account. After you join, you will start receiving communications from the group that includes events, resources, volunteer opportunities, and more. You will also be added to the resource group’s page in IFT Connect— African American, African, Black or Women’s Resource Group.
Not an IFT member? We invite you to become a member to gain access to the Member Resource Groups and the wealth of other benefits IFT has to offer.
Which Member Resource Groups can I join?
You can join any group you personally identify with or are interested in being part of as an ally.
I want to get more involved. How can I volunteer with the Member Resource Groups?
First, join the resource group you want to be part of—as an ally or a member who holds the identity centered by the group. Then, visit Volunteer Central to learn about current volunteer opportunities.
How can I leave a Member Resource Group?
Simply visit your IFT member account and unmark your selection. By leaving the resource group, you will stop receiving information about events, resources, and volunteer opportunities. If you change your mind in the future and want to return, you are welcome to do so in your IFT member account.
What is the focus of the African American, African, Black Resource Group?
IFT’s African American, African, Black Resource Group fosters inclusion through community support, advocates for equity, and increases diversity through outreach. This group supports IFT as it strives to become a more diverse, equitable and inclusive scientific association.
What is the focus of the Women’s Resource Group?
IFT’s Women’s Resource Group envisions building a community that will nurture, empower, inspire, and mentor women in the science of food and support them to make an impact. During their first year, they will focus on:
What are some examples of the types of activities the Member Resource Groups may provide?
There are numerous ways the Member Resource Groups will be engaging with their communities. Examples may include:
If you want to know more about the specific activities our two active resource groups are planning, join the group to receive regular communications and visit the groups’ pages on IFT Connect. You may also consider joining the group as a volunteer to help shape their impact and future activities.
What do I need to do to start a new resource group?
If you are interested in starting an identity-based group that represents a community that has historically been underrepresented and underinvested in within IFT and the science of food profession, please contact senior manager of DEI and International Programs Claudia Espinel at [email protected]. Additional resource groups will be considered based on interest and available resources.