Covid Response Catalyzes Local Food Systems Transformation

New report spotlights the people transforming food systems in dynamic and creative ways

TORONTO, May 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today the Global Alliance for the Future of Food publishes Beacons of Hope: Stories of Food Systems Transformation During COVID-19. Drawn from different countries around the world, each initiative intervenes at a different point in the food system and responds to the pandemic with creativity, adaptability, and resilience. Their stories reveal why food systems need to change, while also serving to push back against popular narratives that maintain the status quo and dominate thinking about the future of food.

Led by farmer and community groups, innovative policymakers, progressive private sector players, social entrepreneurs, and others, Beacons of Hope include:

–  Gastromotiva (Brazil) launched a network of Solidarity Kitchens where its students and alumni cooked in their homes and provided meals to vulnerable people living in their own communities.

–  Fiji’s Ministry of Agriculture focused on the production and consumption of locally-grown and organic produce, and on shifting public perception to view farming as a sector worth investing in.

–  FoodShare (Canada) applied a food justice lens to its pandemic response, partnering with community agencies and grassroots groups to ensure its alternative food infrastructure reached communities most in need.

–  Gardens for Health International (Rwanda) deployed its team of Field Educators and other staff to government-run community health clinics, teaming up with community health workers to screen young children for malnutrition.

–  The Common Market (USA) worked directly with local family farms, aggregating products and distributing them as part of a new, free-of-charge Farm-Fresh Box initiative, aimed at reaching Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour communities.

–  The Lagos Food Bank Initiative (Nigeria) departed from the traditional food bank model, providing immediate relief through food distribution while also addressing the root causes of hunger.

–  The Municipality of Quito (Ecuador) coordinated a comprehensive local food systems response to COVID-19 based on the resilience strategy they had designed for other disasters.

Ruth Richardson, Executive Director, Global Alliance for the Future of Food: “As world leaders gather at the World Health Assembly this week and prepare for other key events such as the UN Food Systems Summit this year, they have before them a significant opportunity — and an obligation — to act for the health and well-being of people, animals, and the planet. Food systems transformation is central to this agenda. With these stories and accompanying analysis, ministerial groups, policymakers, public health advocates, and food systems actors alike have brilliant examples that transformative change is possible; it is happening all around the world — and that it can and must be accelerated.”

The Global Alliance for the Future of Food will co-host Healthy Food Systems | For People, Planet, and Prosperitywith the World Health Organization and EAT on 4 June, 1-3pm CEST. This event will bring together a broad range of stakeholders to discuss the need for a new narrative and action around systemic solutions for global food systems.

About the Global Alliance for the Future of Food: The Global Alliance for the Future of Food is a strategic alliance of philanthropic foundations working together and with others to transform global food systems now and for future generations. We believe in the urgency of transforming global food systems, and in the power of working together and with others to effect positive change. Food systems reform requires new and better solutions at all scales through a systems-level approach and deep collaboration among philanthropy, researchers, grassroots movements, the private sector, farmers and food systems workers, Indigenous Peoples, government, and policymakers.

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