asking questions of those in different
specialty areas should be encouraged.
On a more personal level, discussion
with peers and identification of mentors
outside of specialty areas will help build
and leverage relationships and conversations that can lead to expanded knowledge and sharing across disciplines.
Really, it’s about identifying opportunities to think beyond one’s boundaries,
becoming involved, and being willing
to raise a hand to explore new ways to
approach the broader and rapidly changing food system.
Through a multi-pronged approach
including both formal and informal
food systems leadership development,
our future leaders will be able to grow
their skills and add near immediate
value to their home organizations.
Averting a Crisis and Moving Our
Food System Forward
In addition to growing leaders who
are fluent in a food systems approach
impact lies with providing opportunities to foster and grow the shift to a food
systems approach. To begin that journey, the first action is for current leaders to
recognize the need and identify future leaders with desire to lead in the VUCA food
systems paradigm. Opportunities for development of the food systems skills will be
required for leaders, and many programs already exist to assist in this development.
Many organizations provide training for their next level of managers that are specific to their context. However, to achieve the food-secure future envisioned, an expanded leadership mindset with food systems thinking across roles and departments
will also be needed. Organizations should encourage and support expanded food
systems leadership training and development opportunities not only to help their
next-level managers gain a broader leadership approach but also develop emerging
leaders who have demonstrated interest, growth, and desire to promote change.
Continuing education provides one option to access expanded food systems leadership development. There are several programs, courses, and workshops focused
on leadership and critical thinking as well as food systems. However, many of these
are either too narrow or too general in focus to tackle the complexities of the entire
food system. A newer approach is to embed leadership development within a program focused on expanding food systems understanding and thinking.
In addition to the formal training programs within an organization or offered by
academic institutions, informal development opportunities are available and play an
important role in creating a broader food systems approach. These include industry
and professional associations, conferences, and mentors. To promote the broader
food systems view, joining and participating in association committees that are outside of role or disciplines will be needed. When attending conferences, intentional
selection of sessions outside of an individual’s domain expertise, networking, and
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