Coming Soon: Beacons of Hope


Around the world an extensive network of tens of thousands of people and initiatives are currently engaged in transformative change, seeking to build sustainable food systems.

For example, in Andhra Pradesh, India, the government is supporting millions of farmers to convert to agroecological practices. In the Netherlands, Eosta is an international distribution company that imports sustainable, organic, and fair trade fruits and vegetables built on relationships with over 1,000 growers in six continents. They provide full traceability of their products, provide extension services to farmers, promote true cost accounting, and build a sustainable market with consumers. In rural Zambia, Community Markets for Conservation recognizes that food security and wildlife protection are interconnected and that smallholder farmers can provide opportunities for environmental conservation.

Each initiative is a Beacon of Hope, a bright light providing guidance through turbulent waters, and a source of inspiration.

To learn across this diversity of approaches, we reached out to our vast network to ask them for their “Beacons of Hope.” By sharing their stories, we aim to strengthen the connection between initiatives seeking food systems transformation, better understand the transition process, and engage in the global dialogue about systemic change.

These Beacons of Hope contribute inspiring, creative, and necessary solutions to urgent global issues such as climate change, migration, urbanization, and the need for healthier and more sustainable diets. While these issues pose a serious threat to the well-being of the planet and people, they are also creating opportunities for systemic change.

In June 2019 the Global Alliance for the Future of Food and Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development will launch “Beacons of Hope: Accelerating Transitions to Sustainable Food Systems.”

What can we learn from past transitions? How do systemic transformations occur, what conditions foster change, and how can we learn from current experience? How do we distinguish between incremental shifts and transformative change?

The Beacons of Hope research sought to:

  • Understand the current research on and initiatives looking at transitions toward sustainable food systems around the globe.
  • Select or develop a Food Systems Transformation Framework drawing from the existing literature and practice.
  • Apply cases drawn from the initiatives review to the Food Systems Transformation Framework to deeply understand the context in which transitions are unfolding.
  • Document the positive impacts of transitions toward more sustainable food systems and develop recommendations for supporting and accelerating the transition process.

The 21 Beacons of Hope we interviewed illuminate key elements of the transition to sustainable food systems. They demonstrate that transformative change is happening and can be accelerated. Farmers, consumers, organizations, institutions, governments, businesses, funders, and investors are facilitating food systems transformations in diverse contexts and geographies. We are inspired by their individual and collective efforts and achievements.

Stay tuned for an announcement about launch activities in June.

For more information, please contact Amanda Jekums at amanda@futureoffood.org.