The challenge 

Food systems are facing huge stress and disruption due to climate impacts, nature collapse and socio-economic injustice, but improving resilience is not always a priority.

Many strategies and solutions, whether to feed growing cities or decarbonise food production, pay insufficient attention to what we from food systems, including diversity and health in diets, or shifts in the ways that food markets and value networks work. The solutions are too generic, global, and fail to take into account the local context where changes and impacts play out.

Meanwhile, it is not always sufficiently clear or agreed on who takes responsibility for action. They often take a top-down approach rather than assess what is needed on the ground, or the role of actors at a local level.

Industry change efforts also often prioritise carbon or environmental improvements, with a focus on total supply and sales. There is less attention to complex questions of social justice, from farmer and fisher, to access to healthy food for low-income citizens, to the fragility of the system in the face of climate impacts and nature collapse.

This slows down deeper progress and with potential negative impacts on people left out of shaping change. The challenge of delivering food systems changes is often too complex to drive change with a purely top-down approach. Solutions will need to be context specific, consider local social and environmental conditions, and take into account differing cultural, historical and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

Our approach  

We work to enable diverse actors can reimagine and reshape rural and urban food systems for long-term resilience with deeper systemic impact, through a place-based approach that applies a One Health lens.

The goal: to drive food transition solutions that are locally tailored and appropriate, and facilitate innovative implementation. This will include work in rural and urban settings that is tailored to the locality and facilitates innovative implementation.

The outcomes can be used to inform national dialogues, help business adapt to different contexts and the lessons learnt can be shared in different localities.  

Examples of our work 

FeedBack Nashville 

Forum for the Future is working with The Nashville Food Project and a steering committee of 16 members, who possess varied perspectives on the state of Nashville’s current food system, using a system change approach to build a better food future for the city of Nashville, Tennessee. 

Currently, 1 in 10 Nashville residents lack reliable access to nutritious food, while 178,920 tons of food is wasted every year. The American Farmland Trust ranks TN as the 4th most threatened state for loss of farmland due to farm conversions to development or other uses. 

FeedBack Nashville will diagnose the current food system to understand the root causes and effects of challenges like food waste, hunger, and loss of farmland. In collaboration with the Nashville community, it will co-create shared visions for a more just and sustainable food future for the city, and identify and provide resource for transformational pathways to materialise that future 

Get in touch

Interested in working with us to reframe food narratives in your organisation, sector or wider industry? Get in touch with Senior Sustainability Strategist, Natasha Mehta.

Contact Natasha