So, who is a food stakeholder? You are. So are the mango trader up the road, the logistics business supporting national food retailers, the custodians of the CBD rooftop farms. Food is one of things in which each and every person and living being has a stake.
For purposes of unpacking some of the food stakeholders and the relationships between them, we’ve sketched a diagram to help with understanding. In reality, the lines are messy and the process flows not quite as one-directional but the following picture will assist you with forming some of the links between food stakeholders, which in turn could feed into your Inqola FEED Innovation Prize submission.
Food can be produced formally, informally, for profit or subsistence purposes. Activities that producers are involved in include growing, rearing or creating food in some manner. Some of the stakeholders that fall into this category are farmers, other food producers, factories etc. Think about what this stakeholder type needs: it may be inputs (seeds, compost, water), skills, infrastructure. How would your Prize submission solve some of the challenges involved in these resources and processes.
Although food can be completely unprocessed, more often than not there is some kind of process applied to it (even if it’s simply washed, seasoned and consumed). Stakeholders such as distributors, processors, packagers have to manage complex coordination processes to get food from producer to the next stage, checking quality & quantity, freshness etc. Perhaps your Prize Solution contributes to disrupting one of these processes?
Transference of food can be really basic or extremely complex. In localised food systems where all stages of the food life cycle are completed within a small geographical area and with strong relationships in place, moving food to its intended final destination may take a few days. In other instances, where food has to travel great distances, there may be many (expensive) factors at place. Think about how your Prize Solution might solve for logistical considerations, or perhaps stock management. Access to markets is a significant issue faced by many food stakeholders – this space is particularly open to innovation. Consumers, retailers, restaurants, traders and other market mechanics should be considered.
All food will ultimately be consumed, whether by humans, animals or by the soil (into compost). At this stage of the food cycle, there is often a significant amount of waste and extreme disparity in who does or does not have access to food. Logistics are key: expediently moving food from one area or another can mean the difference between nutrition and starvation. Getting food to the point where it can be safely and democratically consumed is one of the wicked problems of our time.
How to think about food stakeholders in your Solution
We’ve mapped some of the food stakeholders you may want to think about while shaping your Solution. We do suggest doing some of your own research and finding evidence for where there may be gaps your Solution can fill. There is no need to appeal to every food system stakeholder, but showing that you have thought about your solution in the context of the broader food system will score you more points during the Evaluation Phase. Your Solution could be geographically narrow or broad, stakeholder-specific or targeted at multiple food stakeholders. Don’t forget that, although we have not put technology/gists in the above diagram, tech is a critical enabler and your Solution needs to be technology-centric.