Featured Publication

Beacons of Hope

Accelerating Transformations to Sustainable Food Systems

Around the world, an extensive network of people and initiatives are engaged in transformative change, seeking to build sustainable food systems. By sharing their stories, we are amplifying the power and potential of food systems to address critical 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 also create opportunities for transformative, systemic change.

A collaboration between the Global Alliance for the Future of Food and Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development, Beacons of Hope contributes to the important conversation about how we, the global community, can accelerate food system transformation. Each of the 21 Beacons of Hope featured in this work contribute inspiring, creative, and necessary examples and evidence that the transformation we collectively seek is possible.

These Beacons of Hope are geographically dispersed, work across scales and issues, reflect work by different sectors, address multiple dimensions of food systems, illustrate a holistic approach, and articulate a change or transformation processes. When we analyzed them, we identified that the following patterns were established early and were maintained throughout the transformation process:

  • Promoting agroecological 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.

These patterns are at the heart of food systems transformations and represent important characteristics and qualities of the future of food.

There’s little doubt that we need systemic change, new policies, and a shift in power dynamics in order to realise a safe, resilient, and fair food future. As our new report makes clear, though our current food system is behind most of the world’s environmental problems, it is also the source of the solutions we need. It’s now on us, as a global community, to recognize that the transformations we need are already occurring and to turn our energies towards accelerating this process. This starts with better understanding how to support and facilitate these transformative processes in place-based, contextual ways, which makes this report an invaluable asset to those who want to transform policy, practice, and mindsets.

Ruth Richardson

Executive Director, Global Alliance for the Future of Food

This work was commissioned by the Global Alliance for the Future of Food in support of its broader strategy to accelerate the transition to healthy, renewable, diverse, equitable, resilient and interconnected food systems.