Traditions and circularity against food shocks

News23 Nov 2020Kim van Wijk, Vanessa Nigten

A trip across Africa and South (East) Asia to see how researchers, farmers, businesses and policy-makers explore opportunities of giving their food systems a little shake; on the evening of 8 November, NWO-WOTRO, the Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP) and De Balie took you on such a trip. For an audience of a few hundred online streamers, the event ‘Shaking up the food system’ provided a space for experts of research groups to discuss opportunities in food systems to deal with long term and short term global shocks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

Indigenous foods and circular agriculture: the answer?

The debate sessions built on a synthesis study on the results of 75 Food & Business Research projects (F&BR) that aimed to address persistent food security challenges in low- and middle income countries. Invited listeners from the De Balie, NWO-WOTRO and F&BKP networks got the opportunity to listen to high quality discussions about the potential of indigenous foods and circular agriculture as answers to shocks influencing food provision and quality such as COVID-19 and climate change. As a bonus, they also got some insights into how such solutions may inspire the Western world. Discussions were held between Dutch experts, amongst whom The Broker board chair Nicky Pouw, and backed up with practical insights by project experts from African countries present in an online Zoom wall.

Improved varieties of spider plant for Africa (Benin and Kenya) project via F&BKP

Rooted in the programme

Our knowledge brokers working for the Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP) have been an integral part of the past 7 years in coordinating the F&BR projects by teaching them how to involve their stakeholders throughout the duration of their research work and by brokering knowledge harvested from their work with various experts. Not only are found insights in reviving of indigenous foods now being embedded in African policies and business practices, also do brokering events organised such as these reveal international mutual influences where actors might not have been aware of before. More insights from the evening can be found in the event report.

Diversity and potential, visualized

Over the years, some colorful and dynamic video footage has been made of the projects in the field. The Broker developed three videos supporting the evening, utilizing the richness of this footage and drawing on the close relations established with the local researchers from East Africa, West Africa and South-East Asia. The videos showcase the work and impact of the programme and invite project leads from Benin, Ethiopia and Kenya to share their knowledge and perspectives to feed into the panel discussions. The result: a set of three colorful introductory videos presenting indigenous foods and circular agriculture as food system innovations that may be a solution to deal with global shocks.

Re-watch the ‘Shaking up the Food System’ event below: 

The Broker video on the F&BR programme starts at 04:00, the panel video on indigenous foods at 22:00, and circular agriculture video at 57:50. Credits to the event video go to De Balie.

On December 9 and 10, 2020, NWO-WOTRO and the Food & Business Knowledge Platform organise the final Food & Business Research Conference “Scaling insights for sustainable food systems”. Learn more about this conference and how you can sign up via this link.