By fostering and embracing a food sys-
tems-thinking approach, which focuses
on the inter-relationships and complex
interactions found in our multi-faceted food system, we will be able to mitigate
negative aspects and promote positive factors that will allow us to avert a crisis.
Let’s break boundaries. Join my quest to shift our orientation to a more holistic,
food systems-thinking approach—an approach that will allow us to effectively collaborate, innovate, and discover better paths to address today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. Together, we can ensure a food system crisis is averted so that our children
and their children have both a food-secure future and a robust, healthy planet. n
FEBRUARY n MARCH 2020 41
and comfortable with the VUCA nature
of the food system, it will take engagement from all stakeholders in the food
system to avert a crisis. When thinking
about stakeholders, disciplines and sectors are both important, and we must
break boundaries and build bridges between them. For example, public-private
partnerships, multi-cultural cooperation,
and cross-disciplinary innovation will
grow in importance. We must be willing
to think more holistically and outside
of the norm. We must foster a culture
of enhanced collaboration that drives
discovery and innovation across the
continuum of the food system.
Jennifer van de Ligt, Ph.D., is the director of the Integrated Food Systems Leadership program, director of the
Food Protection and Defense Institute, and associate professor at the University of Minnesota.
2. Katz, B. 2019. “Poor Potato Crops Could Lead to a North American French Fry Shortage.”
3. Nickel, R. 2019. “Frozen Harvest Leaves Bitter Taste for U.S. Sugar Beet Farmers.” Reuters.
Most importantly, we need to work
with and instill in our emerging leaders
a food system mindset. This will allow
us to develop and implement more
effective food system solutions, and
achieve a more sustainable global future.
4. Cortina, M. 2019. “How Climate Change Has Impacted the 2019 Harvest.” Olive Oil Times.
5. Wallace-Wells, D, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming (New York: Penguin Random
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