The food systems game changer lab provides an opportunity for new innovative ideas to create positive change in the food system.
The Lab was created through a partnership between EAT Forum, IDEO, SecondMuse, Thought for Food, The Rockefeller Foundation, Meridian Institute, Intention 2 Impact and Forum for the Future. Christine Gould, Founder and CEO of Thought for Food, told Food Tank that the Lab seeks to “democratize all voices in our food systems, mobilize innovation on the ground, and provide avenues to bring these ideas and solutions to life. at a higher level. conversations at the food systems level.
In addition to having access to funding, innovators have the opportunity to collaborate with other participants and build relationships with partners who can support their project. Gould tells Food Tank that these relationships can help accelerate their projects, “whether through advocating for policies, prototyping products, or creating digital solutions that are fit for purpose.”
Each project also belongs to a Solutions Cohort, where the participant can connect with like-minded partners with similar goals. These clusters organize projects according to their topic, including improving indigenous knowledge, soil health, and integrating true cost accounting.
Many participating projects plan to solve local or regional food problems. These include MooFarm, a digital platform to support smallholder farmers in India, and The Village Farmers Initiative, a project in the Anam River in Nigeria enabling the production and distribution of indigenous food varieties.
Gould also told Food Tank that the program is “dedicated to the embodiment of deep democracy.” The Lab does this, she notes, by helping to provide opportunities for projects emerging from “diverse food system actors from different backgrounds, geographies and digital access.”
Gould says 47 percent of program participants are located in the Global South, 20 percent are from non-English speaking countries, and 10 percent work in communities with limited digital resources. To support these participants, the Lab offers sponsorships to help them access a stable digital connection or non-digital forms of program resources.
The Lab encourages participants to move from “me to us,” says Gould. By focusing on collective success and transforming food systems as a team, the Lab hopes to differentiate itself from other accelerator or incubator programs. “We have to try new approaches if we are to see real change,” Gould told Food Tank.
Until October 15, 2021, Participants and Solution Cohorts will participate in matchmaking events, where they can connect with potential partners and facilitators. Through matchmaking and other opportunities offered by the lab, Gould says change makers have the opportunity to “create something greater and better than the sum of its parts.”