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Sustainable Food in 2016

Food systems that benefit all

Our sustainable food programme aims to realise a more diverse food system, away from the one-crop-fits-all model and towards the sustainable production and consumption of diverse, high-quality nutritious food. Safe and healthy food that is available and affordable for all citizens, now and in the future.

An alternative food system can help governments to diminish the growing costs of malnutrition and obesity-related health care, mitigate the impact of environmental degradation and climate change, and increase the productivity of their economies. It can serve the interests of low-income citizens, who – especially in urban areas – often eat cheap, processed food and fast food instead of the wealth of healthy crops and grains available in their region. It might also be in the best interest of smallholder farmers and small food enterprises, who could generate an income from emerging healthier food markets.

Entrepreneurs drive change

To rethink and reform our current food system, Hivos supports frontrunner movements and local food enterprises which prove that sustainable food solutions are feasible. In 2016, we strengthened our collaboration with the Slow Food Youth Movement and the gastronomic movement in Bolivia and Indonesia. Our support to innovative small- and medium-scale food entrepreneurs ranges from targeted training to the development of new financing mechanisms such as the Hivos Food & Lifestyle Fund. At the same time, we help to create a market for sustainable, healthy food products: we raise awareness among citizens and enhance a policy environment that removes blockades hampering the growth of innovative green businesses.

Connecting and influencing stakeholders

Hivos connects different food stakeholders in various programmes so that they can mutually invent, develop, and scale smart solutions to global and local food problems. Our Food Change Labs are a good example of this: they are highly valued as drivers of change by urban dwellers, governments, smallholders, food processors and street vendors. In 2016 we deepened our Lab work in Uganda and successfully expanded it in both Zambia and Indonesia.

The results of the Food Change Labs serve as an important input for our lobby and advocacy work on healthy, diverse and sustainable diets. In 2016, the ‘Sustainable Diets for All’ five-year strategic partnership with the Dutch Government launched successfully. Its goal in a nutshell: low-income citizens and smallholder farmers get more voice and choice over their food. Through our collaboration with IIED, we ensure that this advocacy work is evidence-based.

International alliances

Hivos knows how to engage different parties at the local and national level in designing alternative food systems and we are also an acknowledged player at the international level: since June 2016 Hivos has been co-lead of a new FAO and UNEP programme on Sustainable Food Systems. In Latin America we co-ordinate SAFE, a multi-stakeholder alliance of big coffee and cocoa companies, investors and NGOs. All parties involved in this platform realise that in order to ensure a sustainable future, it is key that global value chains address climate change and environmental sustainability, and include smallholder farmers.