Regenerative Food Production
Resilience Frontiers is reimagining what the future could look like through eight holistic pathways that promote a global shift towards resilience. On Wednesday, 10 November, the Resilience Frontiers Lab considered enabling access to quality nutritious food for all through regenerative food systems.
Tia Kansara, CEO of Replenish Earth, introduced the day’s pathway by reflecting on the linear nature of our food systems. She noted that switching to a circular economy model is not enough to establish resilience, stressing that a constant evolution within both the design and functioning of the systems is needed. She engaged participants in reflecting on the multitude of countries, businesses, and people involved in the production of the breakfast meal each had consumed in the morning. This led to a discussion on how food systems can become regenerative and the role of both the individual and the community in this process. Participants shared thoughts on consumer sovereignty and the need for industries to provide empowering tools and information for people to make informed purchases. Additionally, they highlighted the need for transparency within supply chains and for coherent and accurate food labelling.
The next session on the future of food systems was moderated by Vositha Wijenayake, Executive Director at SLYCAN Trust. The panel included: Solomon Yamoah, Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND) Ghana; Daniel Zimmer, Director of Sustainable Land Use at European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Climate-Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC); Raphael Podselver, Head of UN Advocacy, ProVeg International; Shweta Sood, Head of Programmes at 50by40; Richard Bramley, Chairperson at the National Farmers Union Environment Forum; and Clea Kaske-Kuck, Director of Policy and Advocacy for Food and Nature at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The panelists spoke about the existing disconnects within food structures, and between producers and consumers, production methods and nature, and farmers and the people. They highlighted both the differences and interlinkages between the Global North and the Global South. In this regard, some drew attention to the fact that western countries access year-long supplies of seasonal foods which are produced using exploitative methods on the other side of the world. Responding to a question on what resilient food systems would require, participants shared ideas about revolutionizing government subsidies to support projects which protect the people and nature. They also discussed educating farmers on the effects of climate change and working with them to create shock-responsive food systems, thus enabling them to work together and empowering their economic influence within the system.
The third event was moderated by Sheila Ochugboju, Lead Consultant at the Network for African Women Environmentalists. Panelists included Tania Martinez Cruz, High-Level Expert on Indigenous Food Systems at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Virginia Marshall, Australian National University, and Richard Bramley. They discussed concepts and remedies from their indigenous communities, saying that knowledge should be understood to holistically incorporate different systems, such as science and traditional knowledge. Martinez Cruz introduced indigenous food systems as game changers for resilient food production. Marshall described her community’s relationship with nature and their desire to protect their traditional remedies from being appropriated and exploited. Bramley spoke about finding creative, regenerative farm systems in the Global North which would not only provide food to their local community, but also harness resilience by using circular nutrient systems which can improve the environmental status of an area. Ochugboju asked the panel how humanity can attain a resilient food system in the future. Panelists mentioned the need to: decommodify water and safeguard it as a basic right; include Indigenous Peoples and traditional knowledge within academia; and ensure that research which focuses on indigenous communities centers their needs.
The final session considered an example of best practices working in alignment with future-focused values. Resilience Frontiers calls these innovative projects “Bright Lights.” Zitouni Ould-Dada, Deputy Director in the Climate and Environment Division, FAO, moderated the session. The bright lights were: Conservation International, represented by Executive Director Ana Gloria Guzmán Mora; Blue Nala, represented by CEO Lou Cooperhouse; and Aleph Farms, represented by Vice President of Sustainability Lee Recht. James Dalton, Director of the Global Water Programme at IUCN, was also on the panel. Despite coming from different backgrounds, the panelists shared similar opinions about incorporating innovation in food production systems in an inclusive manner that considers all stakeholders’ needs. They underline
d that to lead a transformational transition to sustainable aquaculture and agriculture, industries must complement each other and collectively cater to the various nutritional needs which exist globally.
Throughout the day, participants noted the disconnect between food systems in the Global North and Global South. However, the discussions sparked conversations about how the transition towards resilience can be achieved in a collaborative and inclusive manner and proved numerous initiatives and innovations exist towards resilient food systems.
On 11 November, the Resilience Lab will discuss the eighth and final Resilience Frontiers pathway towards a regenerative future: Developing transformative financial instruments.
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