On “Food Talk with Dani Nierenberg,” author Bryan Walsh discovers philanthropy’s role in a better food future with Devon Klatell, the Managing Director of The Rockefeller Foundation. “We see the role of philanthropy is to invest in the short term so that policies change, institutions can change, and businesses can change—and carry that change forward in the long term,” says Klatell.
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“Sometimes the role of philanthropy is to demonstrate that a solution can work or adapt it to a given context. Sometimes it’s to build an evidence base and help people advocate for solutions that work…often we contribute to on-the-ground organizations and advocate,” says Klatell.
The Rockefeller Foundation launched the Food System Vision Prize with SecondMuse and OpenIDEO to encourage these on-the-ground organizations, universities, institutions, and partnerships from around the world to create solutions for sustainable and nourishing diets for their local food system. “In designing the prize, we wanted to recognize that we don’t live in one global food system really. We live in lots—thousands, dozens, hundreds—of interconnected local and regional food systems,” says Klatell. “So thinking about what the future is for any of those food systems is so important for us.”
This challenge, to deliver healthy, sustainable, and just diets by 2050, is one that will require not only improved access to nutritious food, but also regenerative and sustainable farming practices, techniques to mitigate pollution, technological innovation, and more. “Today, we’re facing the dual crisis of climate and obesity and nutrition…so any institution that is working for better health has to be investing in food,” says Klatell. “And the food system alone is bankrupting our health system…we need to start bringing those economics to the center of the conversation and think about how we use that to scale some of the solutions that we’re seeing.”