The Food Systems Game Changers Lab offers an opportunity for innovative new ideas to create positive change in the food system.
The Lab was created through a partnership between EAT Forum, IDEO, SecondMuse, Thought for Food, The Rockefeller Foundation, Meridian Institute, Intention 2 Impact, and Forum for the Future. Christine Gould, the Founder and CEO of Thought for Food, tells Food Tank that the Lab seeks to “democratize all of the voices in our food systems, mobilize on-the-ground innovation, and provide avenues to bring these insights and solutions into higher-level food systems conversations.”
In addition to receiving access to funding, innovators have the opportunity to collaborate with other participants and build relationships with partners who can support their project. Gould tells Food Tank that these relationships can help accelerate their projects, “whether through policy advocacy, product prototyping, or building fit-for-purpose digital solutions.”
Each project also belongs to a Solutions Cohort, where the participant can connect with like-minded partners pursuing similar goals. These groupings organize projects according to their topic, including elevating Indigenous knowledge, building soil health, and mainstreaming True Cost Accounting.
Many of the projects participating plan to solve local or regional food issues. These include MooFarm, a digital platform to support small-scale farmers in India, and The Village Farmers Initiative, a project in Nigeria’s Anam riverine enabling the production and distribution of native food varieties.
Gould also tells Food Tank that the program is “dedicated to embodying deep democracy.” The Lab does this, she notes, by helping to provide opportunities for projects emerging from “diverse food systems actors from different backgrounds, geographies, and digital access.”
Gould says that 47 percent of program participants are located in the Global South, 20 percent are from non-English speaking countries, and 10 percent are working in communities with limited digital resources. To support these participants, the Lab provides sponsorships to help them access a stable digital connection or non-digital forms of program resources.
The Lab encourages participants to move from the “me to the we,” Gould says. By focusing on collective success and food systems transformation as a team effort, the Lab hopes to differentiate itself from other accelerators or incubator programs. “We need to try new approaches if we want to see real change,” Gould tells Food Tank.
Through October 15 2021, participants and Solutions Cohorts will take part in matchmaking events, where they can connect with potential partners and facilitators. Through matchmaking and other opportunities offered through the Lab, Gould says changemakers have the chance to “create something that is bigger and better than the sum of its parts.”