Transforming food systems requires futures thinking

Fundamental changes are needed in how food is consumed and produced – for human and planetary health, and for equitable economic development. These changes require thinking about the future of our food system. What will be the possible consequences of decisions taken or not taken? What future risks and opportunities may be faced? How can food systems actors be nudged to deliver more desirable outcomes in the future?

Foresight sits at the interface of uncertainty about the future and human agency to steer change for the common good.

Transformative change will require concerted and coordinated efforts from across government, research, business and civil society. Foresight and scenario analysis offers policy makers, business, and food systems stakeholders ways of exploring the future of food systems to improve today’s decisions. The domain of foresight is not to predict the future, but to better understand what future scenarios may arise, and what alternative pathways might be available.

To guide the use of foresight for food systems change, the Foresight4Food initiative has developed a food systems model and an overall foresight framework. The framework has a seven-step process, with an emphasis on participatory stakeholder engagement supported by a strong evidence base. Each step has a set of participatory and analytical tools.