North Branch, MN — Kirsten Kennedy believes that regional food systems can drive economic growth and improve community health. She envisions systems that promote job growth, equitable access to healthy food, and sustainable farming practices. The pilot online farmers market she helped to create as a leader within the Women’s Environmental Institute has grown from four farms to 24, and now includes partnerships with public benefit programs, senior centers, schools, health providers and emergency food sites. Now, the former mayor of North Branch and head of the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership for Chisago County wants to create models that can be replicated nationally. To advance her vision, she will study successful examples of transformational leadership and restorative food systems.