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The Future of Food: Power and Biodiversity

How can harnessing biodiversity enable progressive power shifts in the food system?

The Future of Food: Power and Biodiversity

How can harnessing biodiversity enable progressive power shifts in the food system?

ABOUT

Nearly one in ten people suffer from hunger, more than two billion people experience moderate to severe food insecurity, and more than three billion cannot afford a healthy diet. At the same time, hundreds of forgotten species, many containing essential micronutrients, could contribute to addressing access to healthy diets.

Power is reflected in the lack of diversity on our plates. Geopolitical imbalances, internal power asymmetries, market concentration in the food supply chain, and corruption determine which foods reach our stomachs (very few products); how they are produced and distributed (with high environmental costs); what their price is (cheap but less nutritious food), and what their real cost is—economic, social, and environmental—thereby determining who can access them. The economic vision of food chain efficiency that has defined our current global “food regime” decouples food production from all its interconnections with nutrition, the environment, and social inclusion.

Without a significant, proactive, and sustained long-term change in the power forces defining food, which includes recognizing the pivotal role of biodiversity and the imperative to diversify food production and consumption, it is hard to imagine achieving sustainable, healthy, inclusive, and fair food systems.

In this project, we will address these and other challenges by identifying obstacles arising from power asymmetries and offering multidisciplinary and systemic solutions. We will provide a comprehensive analysis on biodiversity and power, developing concrete multidisciplinary recommendations to promote food systems diversification. On this basis, we will produce a comprehensive report on the topic.

We will leverage the expertise of a diverse group of experts, with a special focus on the multidisciplinary practitioners and scholars working on this report at THE NEW INSTITUTE. Additionally, we will draw upon the extensive expertise and diverse perspectives within the Advisory Group, as well as consulting and interviewing external experts.

PROGRAM CHAIR
PROGRAM CHAIR

José Luis Chicoma
Global Expert on Food Systems


José Luis serves as Senior Advisor on Global Food Systems for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). He is also a member of the team of experts that is developing the report on strengthening urban food systems for the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE-FSN). He has been a consultant on food systems for international organizations, such as the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Inter-American Development Bank.
José Luis served as Minister of Production (2020-2021) and Vice Minister of Micro and Small Enterprises and Industry (2009-2010) of the Republic of Peru. From 2012 to 2020, he was Executive Director of Ethos, a Mexican think tank that promotes development and sustainable food systems.

Tamara Siewert & Amelie Schleifenheimer "Diversity” (2023)

Without a significant, proactive, and sustained long-term change in the power forces defining food, which includes recognizing the pivotal role of biodiversity and the imperative to diversify food production and consumption, it is hard to imagine achieving sustainable, healthy, inclusive, and fair food systems. In this project, we will address these and other challenges by identifying obstacles arising from power asymmetries and offering multidisciplinary and systemic solutions. We will provide a comprehensive analysis on biodiversity and power, developing concrete multidisciplinary recommendations to promote food systems diversification.

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