The Rockefeller Foundation recently announced it will commit US$105 million to its new Good Food Strategy over the next three years. The Strategy aims to increase access to healthy and sustainable foods for 40 million underserved people around the globe.
“The way we produce, process, and eat food is failing both people and the planet,” Sara Farley, the Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation, tells Food Tank. “Increasing the availability of food that’s good for the people and planet, or ‘Good Food,’ and ensuring that everyone has access to it is part of the solution.”
The Strategy will support a shift in public and private spending toward foods that are nutritious, regenerate the environment, and create equitable economic opportunities for people along the food supply chain. It focuses action in three areas, including food data and science innovations, food policy, and food purchasing.
“The three levers of our strategy work in tandem with one another,” Farley explains. “Each is essential to increasing access to Good Food globally and improving diet quality for millions of people around the world.”
The Strategy will support new and existing initiatives at the Rockefeller Foundation, including True Cost Accounting which informs decision makers on the real costs and benefits of food. Funds will also go towards developing the Periodic Table of Food Initiative, a global public database containing the biochemical composition and function of the most important foods from around the globe. The Strategy will also advocate for data-driven policies through Food is Medicine programs and develop good food purchasing principles and standards to ensure schools and hospitals provide healthy, sustainable foods.
Farley tells Food Tank that engaging stakeholders is essential to achieve the Strategy. “It’s vital that a diverse set of stakeholders are aligned and working together, especially to reach the most vulnerable and marginalized,” Farley explains. “It’s important that those closest to the impact are central – including civil society organizations, farmers, communities, Indigenous organizations and BIPOC voices in particular.”
And while anchors like the World Food Programme, governments, and businesses are important to achieving the Strategy, Farley says that “local food systems stakeholders should be protagonists in their own future.”
The Strategy marks the Foundation’s largest commitment to nutrition in its 109-year history. In 2020, the Rockefeller Foundation published the True Cost of Food report, finding that the impact of food on health, the environment, biodiversity, and livelihoods costs the US$3.2 trillion per year. According to Farley, the report “made clear that despite producing some of the most affordable food in the world, the U.S. food system also generates substantial hidden costs to health, climate, and people.” The Rockefeller Foundation used these findings to re-strategize its approach to food systems. The Good Food Strategy shifts away from a focus on simply increasing the quantity of food toward accounting for the quality of food.
Over the next three years, the Rockefeller Foundation will channel investments and support into organizations who are committed to inclusion and equity and have a track record of success. They will also work through new collaborative grantmaking approaches that simplify the process for community-based organizations to access pooled resources from multiple funders and donor collaboratives.
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