As it currently operates, high-input and resource-intensive farming systems, coupled with soil degradation and water scarcities worldwide, our food system has had adverse community impacts and repercussions on individual well-being (FAO, 2020). Overall the food chain has kept-up with demand, sustained population growth, and has supported the urbanization and development process; however, these gains have been hemmed with unpriced costs, which will be unfit to meet tomorrow’s long-term needs when our global population increases to 10 billion people in 2050 (FAO, 2020).
The Food System is Ready for Change
Nevertheless, innovation and the food system’s performance have begun pivoting with a sustainable prospect. Due to a more informed discourse between public, political and private entities, the food chain is gearing up for disruptive innovation and laying the foundation for communities, organizations, and small businesses to join the design and implementation process.
As seen by the collaboration between Gr365n and Nourish by 10C, organizations and businesses are re-imagining how food is grown and distributed with social and environmental goals. The food chain is now being phased out for a much more complex and holistic understanding of a food system. A system made up of interconnected nodes where all actors play a role in the system’s future. As the hurdles and challenges encountered today become more connected, the solutions must also become interwoven together for a holistic and comprehensive resolution.
Collaborations to Solve Problems and Innovate with Common Goals
Nourish by 10C partnered with Gr365n to build a hydroponic system within the Nourish kitchen to design a model that would produce an assortment of greens and microgreens all year-round. They have used their collaborations to solve problems and innovate with common goals. They have been designed with closed-loop thinking and the power of symbiosis. I believe that as our economy shifts to a knowledge-based economy, these kinds of organizations that have symbiotic goals will become much more prevalent.
Pivoting from our Current System will Need to Involve Everyone in a Holistic Manner
The Guelph-Wellington region and its inhabitants have a unique opportunity at their hands to spark a transformation towards a circular food economy. The shift has already begun, with an apparent food movement revolutionizing the way of things. Still, pivoting from our current system will involve everyone: organizations, individuals, academics, small businesses, and the government: including products and jobs (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2020). We’ll need to design together, build together, and reinvent everything together.
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FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO. (2020). The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020. Transforming food systems for affordable healthy diets. Rome, FAO. http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/ca9692en/
Ellen MacArthur Foundation. (2021). Universal Circular Economy Policy Goals: Enabling the Transition to Scale. Ellen MacArthur Foundation. https://policy.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/universal-policy-goals