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Food Systems Transformation Toolkit & Report

The Beacons of Hope initiative seeks to better understand sustainable food systems transformations around the globe.

Drawing from existing literature and practice, we developed an interactive Toolkit that includes a Food Systems Transformation Framework and Discussion Guide.

Food Systems Transformation Framework

The Toolkit aims to amplify the power and potential of food systems transformations and contribute to the global discussion about sustainability transitions more broadly. The Toolkit is supported by a comprehensive Report.

The Framework and Discussion Guide build on the key interventions, lessons learned, and patterns identified across the Beacons of Hope. To inform the development of the Toolkit, we interviewed the Beacons of Hope, reviewed the transitions literature, and held a workshop with key advisors. The Food Systems Transformation Framework draws on the transitions literature and proposes a process for promoting sustainable food systems transformations. The Discussion Guide provides key questions to facilitate conversation, reflection, and action. Both the Framework and Discussion Guide are meant to be refined over time.

Food Systems Transformation Toolkit

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Food Systems Transformation Report

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Key Messages +

The Beacons of Hope featured in this work provide inspiring examples and evidence that the transformation we collectively seek as a global community is possible. Ten key messages from this work have been distilled to both summarize the key findings and point to next steps.

  1. Around the world myriad people and organizations are working toward sustainable food systems and seeking transformative change. Transformative change is required, it is happening, and it can and must be accelerated.

  2. Transformative change occurs when multiple and diverse initiatives intersect to create momentum and critical mass, leading ultimately to tipping points.

  3. Multiple entry points exist for people engaged in transformative food systems. In particular, climate change, health, environmental pressures, sustainable livelihoods, migration, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are all drivers of transformation.

  4. Important differences between incremental shifts and transformative change need to be explored and made explicit. To address the multiple and interrelated crises we face, radical transformative change is required; incremental shifts must build towards and contribute to positive and significant systems transformation.

  5. Power dynamics shape the transformation process. A defining characteristic of Beacons of Hope is challenging and transforming “deep structures.” The Beacons of Hope, as they contend with lock–ins, blockages, and challenges, are “crucial for transitions, because they provide the seeds for systemic change.”

  6. Common interventions across the Beacons of Hope point to key elements in the transformation to sustainable food systems including: protecting, promoting, and supporting family farmers and Indigenous communities producing food using agroecological and diversified approaches and principles; co–creation of knowledge, and knowledge exchange and dissemination; developing cooperative ownership models; emphasizing ideas of circular and solidarity economy; reinforcing the importance of culturally relevant and place–specific sustainable diets; establishing participatory approaches and inclusive governance; identifying new market mechanisms; adopting new metrics; and, engaging in policy development.

  7. Enhancing, deepening, and broadening interconnections and synergies among Beacons of Hope is a strategic action in support of transformational change.

  8. Building the evidence of the positive benefits of food systems transformations through Beacons of Hope is a priority. Involving Beacons of Hope in global policy processes is an important opportunity to amplify these positive benefits and their contributions to the health and well–being of people and the planet.

  9. To advance sustainable food systems, key communities need to be engaged.

  10. Each Beacon of Hope initiative is embedded within a broader context or landscape that influences their activities resulting in a dynamic transformation process that is not straightforward or linear and takes time.