Get inspired by these four case studies on what it means to implement a sustainable food systems approach.
11 February 2021
  • Sustainable Food System

Case Studies of Food Systems Transformation

To address the stark interrelated challenges within our food systems - at the scale and at the speed that is needed - sharing knowledge and lessons learned is of the essence. This is why the SFS Programme has developed a series of four case studies from initiatives in four different continents that have attempted to address some of the issues in our food systems through the use of a holistic lens - a "food systems approach".

As a relatively new concept, not all stakeholders in the food systems are familiar or have had experience with the so-called "food systems approach" (for a definition please refer to our publication on food systems key approaches, concepts and terms). Decision-makers across the globe require real life examples, inspiration and proof of concept that can support them in accelerating the shift to more sustainable food systems. A sustainable food systems approach can support decision-makers with the identification of trade-offs across challenges, priorities and available solutions (read why in the Collaborative Framework for Food Systems Transformation). These case studies show examples and tools that four different initiatives implemented to handle trade-offs and produce positive impact.

After issuing an open call to its members, the SFS Programme selected the case studies from Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, Hivos, IFAD, and Rikolto. For the selection and development of the case studies, a dedicated task force of SFS Programme members was formed, which co-developed an evaluation tool to carefully select the submitted case studies, and co-curated the case studies with  respective organizations. The task team was formed by Argentina, Biovision, Costa Rica, INRAe, German Development Institute, Global Nature Fund, Switzerland, UNEP, USDA, and WWF. The International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports the project

We hope these case studies inspire you.


Read the case studies

Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT: Local Food Systems to Inform New Policy – Case Studies from Colombia and Vietnam

Case Studies Sustainable Food Systems Programme UN lessons trade-offs


Hivos: The Zambian Food Change Lab: jointly identifying solutions to Zambia’s food systems challenges

Case Studies Sustainable Food Systems Programme UN lessons trade-offs


IFAD: Coastal Climate Resilient Infrastructure Project (CCRIP)

Case Studies Sustainable Food Systems Programme UN lessons trade-offs


Rikolto: MASLAGO - A sustainable landscape management approach tosave the lake that feeds Nicaragua’s cities

Case Studies Sustainable Food Systems Programme UN lessons trade-offs


Task team formed by:


Case Studies Sustainable Food Systems Programme UN logos

  • Sustainable Food System
Systems change