Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Rockefeller Foundation lays out a plan to overhaul the U.S. food system to protect workers, the environment, and consumers.
• What role can you play in supporting these changes? How can the food system be made equitable?
• Find out why women are key for a more sustainable food system.
As reflected in the illustration above, the change needed in the U.S. food system requires three significant shifts:
To realize these three interrelated shifts in transforming the U.S. food system, we need to strengthen and activate a set of cross-cutting capabilities that have not been adequately built into the system. Among the capabilities needed to accomplish the three shifts described above are:
- Apply true cost accounting—the consideration of not only immediate and direct costs, but also extended and indirect costs—in policy, legislative, and programmatic decision-making, and in public messaging;
- Ensure public purchasing generates more public good out of every public dollar spent on food, health, and nutrition;
- Invest in coordinated federal, state, and local capabilities and emergency response plans to increase the flexibility and resilience of the food system;
- Modernize data and technology platforms to provide the tools needed to operate the system more efficiently in normal operation and under stress;
- Unify actors across multiple sectors—health, education, environment, labor, nutrition, agriculture—into a collaborative advocacy movement.
Based upon dialogues with over 100 experts and practitioners, this paper integrates the insight, analysis, experience, and effort of a large array of organizations that have long been working to improve our food system. Drawing deeply on this knowledge, this paper puts forth a framework to build a food system that delivers healthy and affordable food, provides a decent standard of living and safe working conditions to laborers, ensures the viability of family farms and rural communities, and protects the environment and human health while still delivering fair returns to a broader set of shareholders.