Foresight4Food is an international initiative that supports food system transformation processes by offering organisations scenario and foresight expertise, synthesising foresight work in agri-food and linking food systems foresight professionals around the world. The initiative holds regular events and seminars and brings together a wide range of actors, platforms and networks who have an interest in food systems foresight.
The Initiative is being guided by a steering group of representatives from various organisations, and is chaired by Dr Patrick Caron and Professor Tim Benton. Foresight4Food’s Secretariat is being led by Dr Jim Woodhill, and is currently hosted by the Food Systems Group of the Environmental Change Institute of Oxford University.
The Need for Food System Foresight
How food systems change over the coming decades will have profound global implications for our health, economic and social wellbeing and the environment. We are on an unhealthy, unsustainable and inequitable path compounded by the risks and uncertainties of climate change. To help drive change we need a deeper understanding of how the future might unfold and more insight about the options for taking action – before crises hit.
Foresight is a key tool that governments, private sector, and civil society can jointly use to better understand future risks and opportunities in food systems, explore possible futures and to adapt. It involves anticipating trends and changes in food systems, exploring solutions and innovations, and creating foresight-backed scenarios and options to guide action.
In March 22-23, 2017, international experts on food and agriculture gathered in Oxford to explore how foresight and scenario analysis for food systems could be improved. The workshop concluded that to support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals there is a need to substantially strengthen food systems foresight analysis at all scales and to improve the linkages between scientific analysis and policy dialogue with stakeholders. Participants noted that much valuable work is currently underway but recognised that this is often fragmented or one-off and lacks coordination.
The Initiative continues to be guided by Dr Patrick Caron and Professor Tim Benton.
Patrick Caron is a veterinary doctor, PhD in development geography. He is a specialist of farming systems and territorial dynamics, with a special focus on livestock farming. He is the International Director at Montpellier University of Excellence – MUSE and he has been appointed Vice President for International Affairs of the University of Montpellier in January 2019.
Tim Benton is Dean of Strategic Research Initiatives at the University of Leeds and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Energy, Environment and Resources Department at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, UK.
John Ingram is an Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow at Somerville College, University of Oxford. In addition to leading the Food Systems Transformation Research Group within Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, he leads the multi-university post-graduate ‘Interdisciplinary Food Systems Teaching and Learning’ programme (IFSTAL); co-leads the Foresight4Food (F4F) and Food System Impact Valuation (FoodSIVI) programmes; and coordinated the Global Food Security 2016-2021 £15m programme ‘Resilience of the UK Food System’.
Irene Annor-Frempong is the Director for Research and Innovation at ‘The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa’ (FARA). As Director of Research and Innovation, she currently leads the strategic orientation for research and innovation of FARA and the operationalization of the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A).
Keith Wiebe is a Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington DC, where he leads a research program on Global Futures and Strategic Foresight. His areas of particular interest include land tenure, natural resource use and conservation, agricultural productivity and food security.
Lorenzo Giovanni Bellu is the Team Leader and Senior Economist at FAO Global Perspectives Studies Team. He has a PhD in Economic Policy Università Cattolica Milan, Italy. His key areas of expertise include global and country-level development processes and related implications for food and agriculture.
Mario Herrero is a professor of sustainable food systems and global change in the Department of Global Development and a Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator in the Life Sciences. At Cornell Atkinson, he serves as a Cornell Atkinson Scholar.
Mellissa Wood has 30 years’ experience in leading and providing scientific and strategic advice on food, land and water systems, sustainable development, resource and environmental management and public policy. She is currently Chair, Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC), Visiting Scientist CSIRO, Food Systems and Global Change, Expert Evaluator AGFUND and Independent Advisor University of Queensland.
Ravi Khetarpal is the Executive Secretary of Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) since 2017. He Chaired the Tropical Agricultural Platform (a G-20 Initiative) from 2020-2022 and is currently serving as a Chair of Global Forum of Agricultural Research and Innovation with Secretariat at FAO.
The Coordinating Team or Management for the Initiative is based at the Food Systems Group at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute (ECI):
An Honorary Research Associate with the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute and an independent consultant, Jim Woodhill is a specialist on inclusive agribusiness, rural development, food security and multi-stakeholder partnerships, with over 25 years of international development experience.
A Senior Researcher with the Food Systems Group at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, Monika Zurek has worked on food systems, environment and development interactions and scenario analysis in research, international organizations, the philanthropic sector and consulting. Currently she focuses on conceptualizing food systems and sustainable food and nutrition security in the EU and globally, systems’ performance metrics and using forward looking methods to explore options for food system change and their trade-offs.
Roger is the Food Systems Programme Manager responsible for supporting the Programme Leader in the Food Systems Transformation Group, and joined the team in 2015. He provides project management of the F4F programme by supporting F4F team members; delivering on staff resource planning and the financial elements of the project; and assisting the F4F team on proposals for future funding.
Just Dengerink is a Food Systems Advisor working at Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation. In the Foresight4Food FoSTr programme, he is the country facilitator, coordinating participatory scenario and foresight processes in five countries across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Bram Peters is a Food Systems Programme Facilitator working at University of Oxford. In this role, Bram contributes to furthering the global learning and knowledge brokering agenda of the FoSTr programme and facilitates strategic engagement among Foresight4Food’s diverse range of stakeholders.
Arfa Mirza is the Communications Officer for Foresight4Food initiative assisting the team in handeling internal and external communications and marketing activities to enhance the visibility and standing of the Foresight4Food programme and related projects.
The Foresight4Food Initiative has been supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS), Consultative Group on International Agricultural Researc (CGIAR), Open Society Foundations, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), The Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR), French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD)/University of Montpellier, and The University of Oxford.