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Lagos Foodscape 2050, Citizen Insight and the Data Revolution

In 2050, the data and information revolution connects citizens to see, know and shape the foodscape of Africa’s leading mega-city.

Photo of Mat Jones
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Lead Applicant Organization Name

Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing Research, University of the West of England (UWE)

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Researcher Institution

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Lagos Food Bank Initiative (LFBI): Lagos's leading food NGO innovator. SDG Action Award Holder. 7k volunteers and 500k beneficiaries per annum. As well as collaborating with agencies in 85 neighbourhoods across Lagos, we are partners with Dangote, Global Community Shapers Lagos, Imaginarium, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Uber, Itel Mobile, Mobile Kantar TNS.

Website of Legally Registered Entity Research centre

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Under 1 year

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

United Kingdom

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Lagos Metropolitan Area, 1,183 km²

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Our bid is a collaboration led by researchers, food activists as well as representatives from business and local authority.

Mat Jones. As Associate Professor at UWE, I have been working with academics and NGO staff, and students from Lagos for the past 15 years. I have long-term connections: my uncle, with his family, used to work for Cadbury Schweppes (Nigeria) Ltd in Lagos. I research urban food systems in the UK and internationally, but the opportunities for Lagos are unique. I'm passionate about making a difference for the citizens of Lagos. 

Michael Sunbola. President of LFBI. As a child I suffered food insecurity growing up in Lagos, often going without food till after school. With a calling to advance the cause of the voiceless, I became a food system activist, a legal practitioner and a motivational speaker. In 2015, I founded LFBI in 2015 - the first indigenous food bank in Nigeria. 

Janet Ige. I was born and brought up in Lagos. I'm now a UWE Research Fellow focusing on how the physical and food environment shapes behaviour -and creates risks and opportunities to address leading causes of ill health, such as the rising tide of diabetes in Nigeria today.  

Sanda Umar Ismail. I'm a UWE Senior Lecturer, originally from Ghana and with long-standing connections with the city. My research led me to explore the social role of food for older people. The nutritional wellbeing of older people in Lagos is a major concern for me.

At LFBI we've been supported by Abibat Hassan, Nike Elutilo,  Osunnuyi Oluwaseun; Moses Jedidiah, Sopein Olamide, Ajayi Folakemi, and Ajisegiri Oladipupo.

UWE Professor Richard McClatchey brings international data expertise. We're assisted by our talented UWE MSc Public Health Nigerian students  - Kelechi Unaegbu, Adeyemi Adedokun, and Stanley Egeoni

In the refinement stage,we've been joined by Vide Adedayo's team from UniLag, along with stakeholders in waste management and recycling (LAWMA) and the Vegetable Producers Association Lagos

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

“Welcome to Lagos!” reads a large sign on the busy urban expressway. If you are one of the 30,000 migrants arriving every month this may be your first encounter with Africa’s biggest city. The flat landscape passes from underused green scrub and oily waterways to a dense urban-scape of low rise walled concrete housing and corrugated iron shops. When your bus reaches its final destination you had best have your wits about you. Hawkers, hustlers, tricksters and hangers on will surround you. With the crowded streets and snarling traffic you will struggle to get anywhere fast. You will wonder how anything functions in this city… 

Lagos is Nigeria’s beating cultural heart, where people come from across the country to seek new opportunities. Lagos is a popular destination for regional migrants from Benin, Ghana, Mali, Togo and Niger, which brings a cosmopolitan feel to the city.

Lagos has a population growth rate of 3.2% annually, which is expected to further increase in the coming years. By 2050 Lagos is set to be the world’s third largest urban conurbation with an estimated population of 32 million. The city is spreading across Lagos State, and northwards into neighbouring states. Lagos is a place of profound social inequalities, where one in five of the population subsist on less than two dollars a day.

Lagos is built on oil. Nigeria has the world’s third largest reserve of oil and much of the wealth flows through the financial centre of Lagos, the largest in West Africa. Dependence on oil has skewed politics and the economy, but there are signs that Lagos is diversifying. Lagos is a major centre for media, music and fashion – with Nollywood movies in every corner of the African continent and Afrobeats a global phenomenon. Lagos is a tech hub, with huge digital market penetration in its young population.

Lagos has Nigeria’s biggest ports, Apapa and Tin Can Island, which handle 70% of the total national cargo freight. Lagos has West Africa’s biggest international airport.

In recent years, Lagos state government has offered tax breaks to attract investment for local industry. Big schemes are underway in the basic industries of oil refining, urea and plastics production in the free trade zones. Much of this investment comes from the Nigerian diaspora, estimated at US$25 billion in 2018.

Lagos has delicious cuisines from many cultures including: from akara beans and agege bread; yam porridge and fish stew; Jollof rice and dodo; cocoyam soup with bitter leaf; to roasted plantain.

Average food consumption has increased but it costs a lot: the average Lagos consumer spends 73% of earnings on food, compared to 42% in Mumbai. Fruits and vegetables make up 15%, while a third of spending goes on cereals take. Fish makes up about 50% of animal protein intake. The most available staple foods are rice, cassava, maize and yam. Major staples providing plant proteins are cowpea, groundnut and soybean. 

As a coastal area inland waterways, Lagos has fishing industry alongside small holder farmland. However urban growth is reducing local food production and most food is imported.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Through public engagement we found that what worries people most– now and in future -is basic food security. But it's hard to grasp how forces combine to create this situation. Close your eyes. Imagine how to feed 14 million people. Has your mind gone blank? We show how challenges come together through our Lagosian stories.

DIET & ECONOMICS. Like 4 million Lagos residents, Salako of Otodo Gdame survives on 2 dollars a day. His family eats more or less the same food every meal. Every day. Every week. Every month. Thick starchy garri and watery sauce provides few balanced nutrients. Cheap Indomie noodles are no better. Dietary deficiencies of his children risk their long-term health and working lives into the mid-century.

ENVIRONMENT & TECHNOLOGY. Local catches have diminished for fish trader Toyin in Makoko market. He’s undercut by frozen tilapia from East Asia. Illegal fishing techniques in the Bight of Benin threatens fragile stocks. Some imported fish is – ironically - illegally caught in these waters, meanwhile fishers inland cope with sewage and industrial effluent.

CULTURE & ECONOMICS. In Ikeja, Samuel’s restaurant sells ofada rice dishes. Grown to the north of Lagos, ofada has better nutrient value than imported polished rice. The countryside outside Lagos used to be West Africa's rice basket, but subsidised imports undermine future local production.

ECONOMICS & ENVIRONMENT. Brought by truck from northern Nigeria, Usman prides himself in selling the finest Fulani cattle at Kara market. But droughts and over-stocking erode grazing land, and disputes break out between farmers and herders. Future supplies will struggle to meet demand. 

Abifoluwa sells bush rat and lizard when she can, antelope is gone. Once a rich wildlife habitat, the quest for bush meat threatens a collapse in biodiversity around Lagos

CULTURE & ECONOMICS. Victoria of Surulere is getting married. The reception has imported luxuries of swiss cream cake and salmon. Western-style consumer aspirations shape more unsustainable and unhealthy diets.

POLICY & ECONOMICS. In Lekke enterprise zone, Peter works at a new fertiliser factory with capacity to meet the urea demands of the entire Nigerian agriculture sector. While this might provide a boost to the Lagos food supply, it contributes towards rising water stress and carbon emissions of the city.

CULTURE & POLICY. Yuwa gets fast food fried chicken, but there’s no telling where it’s from or how it was produced. Cheluchi, port customs official at Tin Can Island, turns a blind eye for a fee to containers of chicken from Brazil. Evading tax, it undercuts local producers of traditional road runners.

DIET & CULTURE. Annulika is sent by her mother to buy pumpkin leaves. The price has gone up again. Although people treasure tart and bitter flavours of fresh leafy vegetables, poor storage and supply push them towards ultra-processed foods.

Salako, and others face different problems now and in their lives towards 2050. What unites their stories is poor visibility of interlinked issues that propel the food system in a worrying direction. This is Lagos. It is a sheer challenge of comprehending the food system that underpins our Vision.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

The central proposition of our Vision is that by 2050 a data revolution will accelerate opportunities for the people of Lagos to transform their food environment.

Evidence indicates the next 30 years will see a dramatic increase in the availability of high quality data about the city’s food system. Much of these data will be open to all, intuitive to use, and powerfully engaging. For Lagos, a city historically challenged in the weakness of its social institutions, data will provide the means through which all actors – but particularly civil society – create change in the food system. The data revolution enables civil society to understand and shape matters of food justice, as well as food provenance, environmental impacts, food and social belonging (see our Theory of Change).

Today, the complex root causes of Lagos’s food system problems may feel beyond comprehension. Connections between economy, health and the environment remain disjointed, often in ways that benefit the interests of some over others. Data does not - in itself- create solutions, but with increased accessibility represents the medium for mass dialogue, insight and innovation. Lagos’s burgeoning young and digitally adept population will be at the heart of these points of leverage. Mirroring mass participation models in other cities [Big Conversations, Open Cities], NGOs already demonstrate new ways to tackle difficult issues.

Globally, urban food innovation projects will generate an increasing volume of solutions that will leapfrog into the Lagos context, in turn enabling adaptive responses to emerging problems. Food chain barcoding, block chain, and biomarkers enhance the ability to trace the provenance of foods, which enable people to have greater assurance of the standards of production.

Artificial intelligence is able to analyse big data, find patterns and trends to anticipate problems and opportunities. Satellite cameras of ever-finer resolution spot activities, such as illegal fishing off Lagos. Sensing technologies will help make better crop predictions for the region, detect risks to food-borne pathogens, discourage food adulteration, or help track personal diets.

The data revolution will underpin changes in agri-food technology that will 1) improve genetic diversity in crops for better yields 2) support better nutrition, and 3) find new sources of protein.

These technical innovations are intimately linked to public engagement. While changes in our dietary lives threaten to dislocate us from culinary traditions, information technologies also offer the basis for re-making connections. Key reasons include 1) better ability to trace the origins of foods 2) better opportunities to use buying power to leverage for social goods 3) better chance to feel cultural provenance of food.

This informed and energised public, led by civil society organisations, will drive balances and hard trade-offs towards fundamental access to nutritious and sustainable foods.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

The Lagos of 2050 will be a city that, through the power of popular insight, understands and acts on the food system to support social justice, dietary health, environmental concerns and economic well-being. We envisage the following key features for Lagos and its people:

A food curious public that seeks to understand their food system and participate in decisions about its direction.

A diverse civil society that uses data to act as watch dog on the food system.

A revival and re-invention of many food traditions, cultures, and places in one city.

A busy urban environment that integrates local food production and environmental benefits.

A thriving aquaculture industry and restored ocean fishery.

An accountable food industry that put environmental and social goods first, and a flourishing retail sector that brings together cultural life and leisure with a public culture of food and conviviality.

A populace that values food literacy amongst children and young people, and the transfer of ideas between generations.

A city where food has a proper place in the faith and celebratory activities.

A government that supports open data for public benefit, and uses its powers to regulate the undue privatisation of food data.

A city that supports a flourishing food hinterland, that creates connections and social esteem for those whose lives are involved in the food industry.

An open data world that enables food entrepreneurs to make full use of the information available to find innovative opportunities.

Social institutions that value food culture in terms of food procurement, food positive workplaces, and a culture of good food.

A city that makes use of new technologies to take proactive action for food safety and waste prevention.

An integrated system of governance that embeds food matters into all policy deliberations.

A globally engaged city that understands its contribution and engagement in the global food system.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

We chose to use storytelling to feel, sense and visualise Lagos in 2050.  Our Vision is shaped by our ‘Hopes and Dreams’ work with citizens and food system stakeholders across the city. The background evidence is in our Refining the Vision report - where we also show how the competition informed our narrative. Each story gives a window onto the food system themes. 

Britney, honorary chair of the Lagos’ Food NGO Partnership, steps up to the podium at the United Nations in New York to give her address entitled “Recovery, Reconnection and the Lagos Food Datasphere.”

It is 2050 and we are five years into UN’s mid-century Phoenix Development Goals. The 2030-2045 UN DGs span a time when the global food system teetered on the brink of disaster – and a vortex of events hit Lagos. Grain harvests collapsed under heat and storms. Water shortages threatened crops and livestock. Fish stocks dwindled. There was frustration on the streets as stocks ran short and food prices went up. This came just when the economy of Lagos is challenged by the decline in oil price, and the health transition of the city’s ageing population began to take effect.

Concerted global rapid response had almost come too late. A second green revolution deployed the genetic technologies to the roll out a new generation of highly resilient food plants. Insect-based food production was followed by bacterial and fungal food generation programmes. Ferming, synthetic photosynthesis and electrolytic organic chemistry led to the low energy production of fats, carbs and proteins. The macronutrients were used to bulk up food products, albeit in the form of none too appetising powders and liquids. Nevertheless, these efforts filled the global nutrition shortfall and helped free up land for more low intensity farming.

By the early 2040s the supply crisis receded. In its place, focus shifted from the problem of global malnutrition to the problem of human meaning and connectivity to the food we eat. Increasing automation of food production, distribution and retail tended to drive more corporate centralisation. Small people –the farmers, fishers, bakers, traders, hawkers – were everywhere undercut. Low-income city kids in Lagos, living on hyper-processed foods, were reported to have very little idea about what food was, let alone where it came from. Parents worried. While food was at least available and affordable, did their children have any relationship to it beyond the fantasies of the AI marketing departments of giant food corps?

In 2045, the UN declared the “Phoenix Development Goals” to focus international attention for the next fifteen years on re-establishing rich meaningful relationships amongst human kind and in our relationship to the natural world. Our relationship to the food system featured heavily in the PDGs.

Britney clears her throat before the UN audience. “Fellows, I am honoured to accept the award as winner of the 2050 Food City Global Award. The citizens of Lagos are now on a path to recovering our cultural and spiritual connections to food. We know that food, what we eat and that which brings life, is more than just fuel. Every meal we eat can bring us closer together, help us understand our past, connect us to where we live, and tell a story about where we want to go.

In the Lagos foodscape every citizen can use the power of open-source, big data to understand and shape our food system. Where once there was darkness there is now light. Where once no one in Lagos could begin to comprehend where our food came from, under what conditions it was produced, who benefits, and what needs to change, we now have this information at our fingertips. The days are over in the in-balance of power, when only the few privileged could use their access to hide, manipulate and control how we ate.

Lagos now has a thriving civil society that uses its new powers to debate, enquire, keep watch and hold to account what happens with in the food system. In Lagos we have unprecedented volume, velocity and variety of data to help give see flow of food products from the hinterland of the city, and wider afield from Nigeria and the global stage. We know how much fruit and vegetables we grow in the gardens, allotments and streets of Lagos itself. We know exactly where our meat comes from and under what welfare conditions it was produced. The food data revolution is more than just a matter of interest for the bosses and the bureaucrats, the bet-makers and the bean-counters. No, we have entered a world where every citizen of Lagos is now able to know, feel and shape their food environment.”

Colourful rainbow of veg is all the rage in Mushin’s market these days. Where once Adefunke only saw onions, tomatoes and tired looking vegetables, the stalls now brim with chilled fresh dark greens, purple carrots, and tangerine sweet peppers. Lagos learned from the experience of rich cities in the West, where bad diets drove the need for costly healthcare services to manage the wave of chronic disease such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The city’s public health department run monthly veg totalizers to encourage each area of the city to beat its own record for sales, local sourcing and affordability. Ngozi likes the cheap blood monitoring sensors that track biomarkers of her fresh veg consumption. There is a new-found status in eating traditional bitter greens: children see it as a rite of passage when they finally get to love the taste.

Teacher Mohammed sits on the floor in a circle with a group of his school students. They taking part in a global discussion on the value of human faeces in urban food production. As they talk, an inter-active hologram in the middle of the circle helps them visualise the optimal use of the fertiliser for the Lagos urban district. The evidence shows that this closed system is doing so well that Lagos is net exporter of this fertiliser to the surrounding region.

At the House of Glory Pastor Benjamin talks to his congregation about how they are going to use their block chain cryptocurrency charity account to bring the greatest benefits to local residents with mental health and chronic health issues. They decide to use their purchasing power to incentivise local traders to offer healthy low cost food to those with the greatest need. Benjamin keeps in touch with the Neighbourhood FoodWatch who use real time data to track the availability and affordability of many foodstuffs in the area.

Many croaker fish sparkle through the clear waters as they make their way into the Lagos big lagoon. Checking his watch data view, Godwin is pleased to see that the numbers are up again. It has been that way for the last few years ever since the satellite tracking helped put stop to illegal fishing off the coast of Lagos. Godwin looks overhead. Anytime soon, the King and Queen of England will be splashing down. The Thai tourists love this kind of thing, and they have hired little boats in big numbers to watch the annual event. Trackers show that they are flying over the suburbs of the city. For the first time in 600 years, Nigerian white storks are nesting in the oak trees of Windsor Castle England, and two storks have migrated back to Lagos lagoon. Affectionately known as the King and Queen of England, the fishing community are happy to let them forage for frogs in the restored marshland that spreads out from Victoria Island.

Sochima works for ‘LagoFoods’, a leading business for food staples including flours, rice, cooking oil, and tinned foods, retains customer loyalty through providing more open data than any of its competitors. NGOs use increasingly sophisticated AI to interrogate and check the data that food businesses provide. They are able to rank how well LagoFoods is doing against a clear set of social, health and environmental goods. LagoFoods is able to tell independently verified stories about its food products. This work is at the heart of its business model: it knows that public trust in its brands is the basis for long-term success in a competitive market.

For Akanni’s wedding, there will be a very special meal: beef and cow offal is now for the best occasions. Ever since the facts showed that that cattle grazing was making a desert out of the north of Nigeria. In the 2030s, dust storms engulfed Lagos for weeks. Evidence of the link with over grazing led civil society to pressure the government to take a stronger role in regulating grazing and welfare of the animals.

Across the continent, Afro-Local Cook Off is a big reality food competition. Oladayo sweats as he prepares his meal. The rules state that he has to source all his ingredients from food grown within ten square kilometres of his house. Of course, that is not too hard for many rural contestants. However, Oladayo has to get all his food from within the urban area of Lagos. There is no chance to cheat: biomarker traceability can show exactly where every plant was grown! Oladayo’s quest has attracted a huge following of Lagosians, proud to let the show off the best food their city can produce.

“I can't believe it. I’m a 100 hundred years old today!” Bertina is up before dawn, sitting in the little compound. She listens to the rest of the family prepare a meal for her birthday. They have tried hard and found things that she used have back when she was a child: yam, water leaves and village chicken. She thinks back. When she was a child and her home was a village on the city's edge, they used to live of coconut, rice and yams from the field, vegetables from the garden, dried fish from the market. As she grew up it things fell apart as her family’s diet filled with factory noodles, cheap bread, and flavourless rice. Now it feels like things are getting back to the way they used to be. Better maybe! She looks over her compound with pawpaw, plantain and guava bushes. Birds chatter. Light fills the space. Her eyes are a bit cloudy with age, but things feel clearer in the Lagos of 2050.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Conference/event

Describe how your Vision developed over the course of the Refinement Phase.

We engaged LFBI supporters in the food business sector. We partnered with Vide Adedayo at UniLag who led another Lagos based (unsuccessful) submission to the Prize competition. We reached out to 38 of our fellow competition applicants through IDEO’s platform. We planned a social media campaign, and multi-sector convention.

The coronavirus restrictions changed all our plans. Mat was not allowed to travel from the UK to Lagos in late March. LFBI’s aid work scaled up massively across the Lagos as calls for assistance, volunteers and donations poured in. Meanwhile, all capacity of UWE Public Health staff had to focus on covid-19 research. We decided to suspend our application until the easing of restrictions in Lagos on 4th May.

At this stage we picked up with Vide’s team and gathered further local information. We developed food actor surveys to refine our bid and animation. Given the crisis, we framed the refinement around how recent events create opportunities for change in the future.

Please provide the names of all organizations you meaningfully partnered with to develop this latest version of your Vision (they contributed at least 10 hours of time to the Vision development during the Refinement Phase).

University of the West of England (UWE) and Lagos Food Bank Initiative (LFBI) worked closely as the lead partners. Both took part in further background research, community engagement, visualisation, drafting the proposal, and partnership meetings. We worked with LFBI’s network of food business experts to give us more practical and confidential insight into aspects of the import, processing, packaging and retailing industries. Their support has been anonymised in respect the confidential nature of their much of their advice.

The University of Lagos (UniLag) already had a food vision partnership group, and we worked with this team to find connections between our two bids and identify complementary expertise. The Vegetable Producers Association, Lagos contributed their expertise on local food production. Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) advised as part of the submission on food waste.

Describe the specific steps you took during the Refinement phase to include different stakeholders to develop your Vision, including a description (age, profile, and total number) of the stakeholders engaged, and how you engaged with each.

The first step we took was to extend our partnership engagement through food business sponsors of Lagos food bank. These businesses range include both processing and retail. They provided important advice on the feasibility of the vision, particularly with regard to Lagos's reliance on the global food market for the foreseeable future.

Next, having combined with the Unilag food vision group, we drew upon experts in city food data, local food production and food waste and recycling. This helped us expand the scope of our long-term vision and root it in proof-of-concept projects we want to take forward.

The Covid-19 crisis has affected everyone. When we designed our community engagement process we thought that we would build this into our dialogue – rather than pretending that nothing had changed. We made the process into an online event where we asked people to tell us more about their ideas on the future of the food system.

In total we got feedback from 683 people, of which we reached out to 16 vendors with no access to smartphone. The breakdown of people we engaged are as follows

  • Gender: 66% female (n=450); 34% male (n=234)
  • Age: Age range 16-75; Modal age 18-29
  • Local government area: All 20 LGAs. Min 4, Max 82 per area
  • Role in the food system, most sectors covered: farming (n=69); retail (n=54); processing and distribution (n=81); food education (n=123); food poverty action volunteer (n=399); regular food shopper (n=528).

The crisis sent us signals about the future. Our participants highlighted the power of voluntary action, community spirit, digital networks, and donor schemes, as well as concerns about the fragility of food chain and distribution systems and access to both basic and fresh foods.

We have focused efforts on animation storytelling and picturing what the future might look like. We found that there is a lot of public interest on social media. This has helped us refine our ideas about where we could take our ideas next through mass citizen engagement.

What signals and trends did you draw from to inform your Vision? Please provide data or examples that back up each signal or trend.

Some of the strongest signals of change have arisen from the coronavirus pandemic in Lagos

  • Crises produce efforts to harness information to diagnose and prepare.  It also signals how much uncertainty there is about the future. In the future there are likely to other shocks to the food system, most probably connected climate change. The events have revealed major gaps in our knowledge and deficits in our ability to act [1].
  • The data revolution is linked to greater engagement from private sector food businesses in food aid. Confidence from the private sector to donate has been due to, firstly the degree of transparency that social media has given to charitable agencies. Secondly, social media has made the actions of private companies more visible and central to the promotion of brand identity [2].
  • Coronavirus has stimulated interest in localising the food system. There has been a increase in households gardening [3]. Rising prices for fresh foods has supported local producers [4].
  • A further signal has been to test the robustness of food chains. Global supply chains have held up [5], while there has been major disruption to food being transported from the north of Nigeria [6].
  • The outbreak has flagged up the reliability of information about food availability and actions to support vulnerable groups. This is an example of how good information is at the heart of building public trust, and enabling effective action [7].
  • The outbreak has shown how coalitions of food agencies are coming together, and are increasingly able to coordinate their actions through information sharing [7].

The following trends and signals indicate that data will become an even greater feature of social life as we move through the 21st century.

  • There has been a rapid growth in digital data, set to continue according to trends, and this applies to all aspects of the food system [8]
  • There are signals that the subject of ownership and public access to data and open data are becoming an increasingly important issues [9] including access to open data on food and nutrition [10] 
  • There are trends towards greater digital engagement amongst low income groups in Africa [11] 

In addition to trends in information and data, other key trends are running in parallel and are acting in support of our Vision:

  • Falling cost of renewable energy – storage and refrigeration
  • Growing interest in locally produced foods
  • Growth in the number of food NGOs in the city
  • New food processing technologies, particularly those involved in the production of plant and fungus based proteins
  • An increasing number of multi-sectoral urban food partnerships are collaborating and sharing information on best practice [12]
  • Despite widespread poverty, the incomes of the poorest have been growing, such that an increasing proportion of households have seen a small but significant rise in income [13] and growth in the proportion of children engaged in basic education [13].

Describe a “Day in the Life” of a key food system actor within your food system in 2050 (e.g., farmer, chef, supply chain actor, food policy actor, etc.).

[We continue on from the Full Vision set out in the Open Submission Phase]

It is a week after Britney, honorary chair for the Lagos Food Partnership, has returned from accepting the Food City Global Award.

After work she is meeting her daughter before heading over to pick up her grand-daughter from the nursery. Walking through the office, she checks the latest interactive holograms of great ocean fish journeys. The children are going to have a lot of fun when these are up and running in the classroom. It is important when they see fish for sale in the market that they know just how precious they are.

Britney has a moment to catch up with the volunteers. Today they have been learning how to gather the food stories of older people, exploring the role that food has played in their lifetime journey. Food banks now bank food stories. Whatever next!

Taking a turn off the tree-lined street she slips into the fruit and veg market.  That golden shoko looks so tasty next to violet peppers in the freshener units. It is exciting to see the latest– every season there are new varieties. Today, Britney needs bitter greens to go with coca yam soup, the elders were very insistent that the children needed to try it.

A little party at the nursery is just starting. She sees her grand daughter playing amongst the vegetable beds. It is so nice to see that retired gentleman and the toddlers play hide and seek with a guava.

A small gathering are having a discussion about how their farmer support scheme is going. Any day soon, the first crop of traditional rice will be harvested.

A billboard has a display about a public competition to help design the new garden parks. The image transitions to a new message: “Welcome to Lagos”. Britney smiles to her daughter. I love this place.

Environment | How will your food system of 2050 adapt to climate change and remain resilient?

Lagos faces a challenge that will be present for the majority of humanity in 2050 [1]. As city dwellers, Lagosians barely see the connections between environment, food system and daily life. While rural societies witness the links between nature and food everyday, this is hardly the case in cities. For Lagos, adaptation to climate change and resilience must centre on creating human understanding, without which there will be no drive to shape an ecologically balanced food system. So a key issue is how city-dwelling Lagosians create some form of connection with the environments in which their food is produced?

There will be a substantial rise is local food production shaped by a combination of new technologies, consumer interest, social value and market proximity.  The default is to design every sub-food system as a circular economy. We see this in fishing, where local fish production is almost entirely an aquaculture industry [2]. Organic ‘waste’ will become an urban resource, that is carefully regulated for use in aquaculture. Indeed, with the risk of the over-nutrification of local water systems, Lagos will be an exporter of organic materials to the city’s rural hinterland [3] .

Perhaps the greatest value of hyper-local food production will be its role in connecting citizens to where food comes from. To that end, many food and environmental initiatives are physically and virtually accessible to the public. Open green space projects will be a common feature educational, business and housing settings. There are many socially owned farms distributed across the city, which contribute towards greater gender equality [4]. These opportunities for engagement feed the interest of the public in nurturing their immediate environment and the green and blue spaces across the city.

The urban dependency on foods from highly stressed environments will have been addressed through greater consumption of plant-based and alternative high-tech foods. In particular, plant and fungus-based proteins will be substituting nearly all beef and dairy produced in the soil and water-stressed north of the country [5].

Because a growing proportion of food will be produced through new technological routes, there are opportunities for the re-wilding of green spaces around the city. Despite huge pressures from a growing population, by 2050 the balance has been moving back towards less intensive pressures on green spaces. However, we can anticipate that the immediate food-shed of Lagos will have experienced considerable environmental stress. In the absence of positive action, the environment – land and marine – is fragile.   Therefore, there is greater public involvement in the regulation and management of the environment. In this dense urban context, a cultural shift towards valuing the tangible and intangible aspects of the environment is essential to build its resilience [6].

It is important to consider that, like most of humanity in 2050, the environment from which Lagosians obtain their food will be a global one. Our expert advisors from the private sector have made a convincing case that Lagosians in 2050 are still likely to be buying imported wild caught Atlantic fish and South East Asian rice, although less so than today. Adaptation in this global context involves smart, agile and highly flexible procurement chains [7]. This enables greater ability to divert demand pressures away from ecosystems that become over-stressed.  The power of open information will have a critical role in enabling Lagosians to understand their effects upon the global environment.

Diets | How will your food system of 2050 address malnutrition in all its forms (undernutrition, micronutrient deficiency, metabolic disease) for the people living there?

The ‘how’ in tackling malnutrition centres on ‘understanding’: not simply in a very general sense, but in the profound insights Lagosians gain when information, ideas, reflection and dialogue come together. Many dietary fundamentals are not complex. The challenges rest in how diets interact with our psychic, social and material worlds. By 2050, this realisation is the starting place for action on better diets.

Of all food system issues, poor nutrition embedded with food insecurity, is undoubtedly the leading current concern for the public in Lagos in 2020. In the years to 2050 we envisage that this remains the focal issue, given concerns about the feasibility of the 2030 SDGs [1], but with the emphasis shifting as the challenges morph over time. The Planetary Health Diet [2] has been widely accepted in health guidance.

By 2050, not only have patterns of malnutrition changed, but the way we talk about it looks different. The problem of inadequate macro-nutrients is a matter largely resolved. Advances in industrialisation have driven down the costs, and driven up the availability, of processed carbohydrates, fats and – most significantly - proteins [3]. Further processing has made these raw products safe and palatable. Similarly, most other dietary components are produced in reliable quantities to make them affordable and accessible. A consequence has been for public attention to turn to basic nutritional access as a social right for all.

Basic nutritional access is a technical solution to malnutrition, but does not resolve the social and wider health dimensions to the issue. Here we see that other changes in the food system of Lagos are creating as substantial an impact as basic nutritional access.

There is a massive growth in the availability and diversity of fresh fruit and vegetables. Evidence grows on the health benefits of fresh plant-based foods and a diverse diet [5]. The nutritional public debate in Lagos centres on a balanced diet of seasonal foods that are minimally processed. With basic nutritional access resolved a nutritional question now is how to allow everyone an optimal diet.

Much of this interest is propelled by concerns about the long-term effects of poor diets on health. By 2050 Lagos now has a growing ageing population in which the consequences of over-nutrition are a leading driver of diseases such as diabetes and cardio-vascular disease [6]. These changing demographics and health patterns mean that there is a greater focus on fresh foods, minimally unprocessed foods [7].

There is much less reliance on large animals as a source of food. Meat remains an important for many people, but more as a garnish on special occasions than as a dietary staple food. The food system has adapted to this shift through strong animal welfare standards [3] that are made more meaningful through their reference to traditional Nigerian cultural values.

Lagosians do not exist in a bubble. By 2050 nutritional insights are global, which means that citizens of Lagos learn about their diets and food they eat as part of a globally connected society [8]. However, the potential for a deluge of confusing or overwhelming information about diets is avoided through a rise in scientific and authoritative media channels that curate tailored and informative – but also manageable and realistic – dietary advice [9].

The global food system will have to continue to play an important part in helping to feed the large urban population of Lagos- it is simply not possible or necessary to meet nutritional needs through the immediate hinterland of the city.

There will be much greater accountability and scrutiny placed upon the producers of processed foods, such that their businesses can only flourish if they build trust with consumers about the nutritional quality of their foods.

The question of a good diet has shifted from a narrow focus on biological nutrition and calorie intake, to a more holistic view. Good diets are a matter of both mental and physical health. Therefore, attention is given in school, hospital, care and workplace settings to the importance of convivial social eating [10]. This is actively supported, following overwhelming growth of health research on the protective value of eating in the company of others [11].

Economics | Where and what will the jobs be that support living wages in your future food system of 2050, and how will these jobs impact gender equality?

While some could only see an economic catastrophe in the making, the Lagosians of 2050 have shown otherwise with a thriving economy that has adapted to a rapidly changing world.

Many changes have been driven by processes only loosely connected to the food system. Today’s relatively young population profile means that Lagos continues to have a relatively active workforce into the middle of the 21st century. Global investment has supported the rise of locally located industries and better infrastructure that support the city and export economies.

Following global trends there will be increasing automation of food system processes from production, processing and distribution, even at small scale [1]. Lagos as a major African economic hub is at the heart of these innovations. While there are new skilled, and still some low skill, job opportunities, the trend in the industrialised sector of the food system is towards fewer numbers of employees to support increasing outputs. This means that there is a smaller proportion of the population overall employed in the production, manufacturing and processing of foods. Nevertheless, the drive towards optimising hyper-local food [2] means that more is produced within Lagos state, and jobs are created in this field that blend farming and horticulture with environmental, social, educational activities (see section on local food production). Producer-buyer aggregator platforms help both local and circular economies [3].

However, this does not mean that employment opportunities in the food system are disappearing. Instead they have shifted towards services, many of which challenge our current preconceptions of work and income [2].

Eating together is central part of everyday life and as a result there is a growing retail economy catering for a range of circumstances [4]. In our vision, radical moves to maintain a social understanding of where food comes from and how we eat it, supports the growth of a sizeable food service sector. The food service sector to also needs to meet the ever expanding culinary interests of consumers.

The vulnerability of the food system of Lagos is a major public concern. As such, work associated with promoting the resilience of the food system is an important source of employment. These forms of work go beyond public and environmental health protection, health promotion, standards regulation and enforcement. A growing dimension of work is concerned with activities such as monitoring, evaluating, modelling, predicting and preparing. These are skilled areas of work that depend upon the explosion of information that is digitally available. There are important consequences for these activities that need to be addressed through other forms of employment. These are concerned with maintaining accountability to the public and food system stakeholders. Much of this work involves communicating with the public about the food system [5]. This is a field of work not simply about disseminating information, but one of facilitating, engaging and promoting dialogue about the direction of the food system. These areas of work are of wide interest and are invested in by the private sector as well as the public and NGO sectors.

The monetary economy is receding in its simple form. There is a growth in new kinds of work [6]. These are activities that do not resemble what might be conventionally called jobs. Skilled, vocational and in demand, they provide livelihoods but not through conventional forms of remuneration. This work forms a part of the post-monetary economy in which a growing field of exchange and value creation takes place through alternative routes. The big growth areas in this field combine caring, entertainment, creativity, therapy and personal growth. These kinds of work build symbolic rather than economic capital through creating meanings out of the fabric of social routines and rituals, both of the everyday and special nature. Some examples of these new forms of activity in the food system are convening together young and older people to eat together, creating food celebrations and entertainment, leading immersive experiences, bridging divided communities, and restoring connections to the historical past of food. 

Inequity in the food system is a source of public concern in Lagos in 2050. Not least, there are historic gender inequalities in terms of female roles and income in all areas of the food industry, and in the links between informal care and the role of food. NGO’s and wider partners use opportunities to reliably track social patterns to drive public awareness and interest in creating change. Businesses compete to show their performance on social inclusion, which in turn feeds a virtuous circle towards better understanding of good practice [7]. The visibility of gender inequalities underpinned public interest in political processes to incentivise – and where necessary regulate – on action for change.

Culture | How will your 2050 food system ensure that the cultural, spiritual and community traditions and/or practices in your Place flourish?

By the middle of the century, we envision a secure food system that meet social and environmental needs, and where the focus has moved on to the restoration of the cultural connections of food.

Transparency in the food system will produce greater opportunities to revive and resurrect symbolic meanings of food. There will be greater place for cultural diversity to be reflected, explored and developed because of a better ability of all to understand the provenance of their food. Food – as ever – is a means by which people communicate and express their sense of values and identity [1].

These are not simply a matter of reviving of old traditions. There is an exploratory world in which new perspectives arise through the mixing and merging of ideas. Lagos as a large multi-cultural city will have a rich mixture of traditions to draw upon.  The continued migration into the city will add to this cosmopolitan diversity. The sense of safety and trust make food a less culturally divisive issue, where formerly it acted as a basis for cultural exclusion and boundary making. Culinary mixing is able to thrive given Nigeria’s strong traditions of tolerance [2] and exchange between ethnic and faith-based communities.

There will be social spaces for old and young to mix and for the inter-generational transfer of learning. Older people in Lagos are well placed to pass down culinary heritage to young generations. With increasing life spans, a growth in the older population, and growing food security there is a revival of interest in the role of food in rites of passage, conviviality and markers of special occasions [3].

Other demographic changes promote new ways to eat. As a big diaspora increasingly weaves Lagos into global trends, food fashions from overseas flood into the city [4]. While historically this has been driving fast food culture, by 2050 the value of fresh, minimally processed foods is popularised by new generations of global celebrities and influencers. With growing maturation and transparency, social media has gravitated towards more authenticity. Digital escapism still thrives, but new generations of Lagosians learn to manage the boundaries between imaginary self and material body. Savvy youth, in particular hold very high expectations of food marketing claims.

Food culture spills into sport, arts and creativity in surprising ways as - made all the richer due to availability of information about food. Data allows the greater gamification of food matters. It is also a tool for learning [5]. For example, there are ways to rate, rank and differentiate on how well ward areas do about reducing food waste.

Faith organisations have played a major role in helping to meet the food needs of poorer groups in Lagos. In 2050 their role has extended members find it easy to donate with confidence of the effects of their giving with enhanced digital traceability. Members feel better able to make purchases with integrity to their values. It is straightforward to plan food shopping to support good social or environmental causes, with costs that can be adjusted and consequences verified. Spiritual and ethical considerations are foremost considerations. As the complexity of the food system becomes more visible, so the dilemmas for good action grow. Faith groups and civil society more generally, find that these matters need attention. A public sphere brings together lively debate between as food system awareness gives food for thought.

Technology | What technological advances are needed to transform your food system into one that meets your goals and embodies the values of your Vision in 2050?

While technologies related to the information revolution are at the foreground of our Vision, we see this as one lens through which to see the future. This is a future in which technologies catch the eye, but where the social activities are of primary importance. Human and environmental interactions drive change, not technologies by themselves.

We see a place for a number of technological innovations in the Lagos of 2050, in which convergent evolution drives standardisation, cost reductions and useability. These and other valuable features and important part of the picture in addressing major threats in the food system of Lagos.

Cheap, robust measuring and recording instruments make data collection vastly more expansive [1]. The Internet of Things (IOT) enable information sharing about food objects, food environments and their interactions people. There is increasing ability to track and trace the origins of foods – which when presented in story-based narratives - engage consumers in matters of provenance. Similarly blockchain technologies promote a more transparent picture of where food comes from and help shape purchasing decisions [2].

IOT helps determine the safety and hygiene of foods through greater transparency of recording the distribution processes within the food system [3]. For the hot climate of Lagos, this is a huge boost to assure and build trust in the safety of fresh foods, which are recognised as an important part of a healthy diet. For shoppers, IOT also helps put at ease concerns about the trustworthiness about the claims of retailers.

Cheap, wearable devices provide simple straightforward opportunities to monitor individual diet and nutritional intake, and with internet connectivity have incremental benefits as more people use them globally [4]. Bio-marking technologies help understand the precise composition of foods [5]. While this of not of widespread interest, there are many volunteers who are keen to crowdsource biomarker and health data to assist with locally tailored medical and dietary research. Similarly, the IOT in home, such as toilet based sensors, help feed useful microbial and molecular data to research organisations.

Given worries about being overwhelmed or surveilled, personal content curation is a whole field in itself augmented through information technologies [6]. Alongside regulatory frameworks, encryption and de-centralised networks are in place to protect the public. These protections enable greater exploitation of food consumption data for social benefit, and where appropriate create public revenue streams to enhance food standards.

Artificial intelligence machine learning and data analytics transform our ability to interpret and make use of information about the food system. Clearly an important aid for the operations of government and private sector agencies, their falling cost and use-ability puts them readily within reach for small charities and food aid projects. In 2050 they are accustomed to using these tools to help track the effects of their work and to plan for contingencies [7]. Better project management creates a virtuous circle for funding, where donors can readily see the effectiveness of their contributions and are emboldened to support best practice.  The transparency of social media and data recording technologies to show the activities of philanthropic organisations provides greater trust amongst donors, which in turn leads to more donors coming forward.

Data analytics makes increasingly sophisticated predictions of what actions are needed now to anticipate future change and future shocks to the food system.

Greater integration of data systems in multiple domains make it possible to put together a whole food system account of complex issues such as the operations of nitrogen cycles or sustainable fish systems. Supported through real data, these reports move from being simulations and models to reflect near real-time accounts for Lagos as a real place. These have great value as educational tools and as a stimulus for public interest on abstract and difficult subjects. Data visualisation, gaming and narrative technologies provide increasingly accessible and engaging possibilities through which to connect with the public.

Meanwhile, the nature of food production and processing is changing. Cellular food production, nutrient fermentation, insect farming, vertical farming, and waste nutrient recovery all have small land footprints [8]. As such they are all attractive for localising urban food systems. These will be complemented by intensive farming techniques, particularly in the field of acquaculture systems operating at mixed scales.  However, given the probable need for imports from the wider global food system, the citizens of Lagos are reliant on a host of distant agri-tech innovations.

Policy | What types of policies are needed to enable your future food system?

Open data forms a key part of ensuring that civil society has a strong role in influencing the actions of business and government and forms the basis for a flourishing voluntary sector.

Multi-sector food partnerships will form an important part in the governance of the food system. This will reflect the case that matters of food policy are on interest to everyone. There will be a deluge of policy transfer through the international urban food policy movement. Already urban areas are sharing their best ideas globally through, for example the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact. While staying local to the specific circumstances of Lagos, global policy transfers [1] will become increasingly routine for everything from micro-farming to food waste. A consequence of advocacy by this partnership is the state and federal government has an integrated food policy that does not disconnect different spheres in silos.

While the food industry will enjoy many freedoms to respond and develop markets, there will be commensurate regulations to ensure that they are highly accountable to consumers and stakeholders. To promote a resilient food system there will need to be greater regulation of food industries to provide sustainable and long term environmental protections. These frameworks will be adapted to more agile democratic system that can respond effectively to direct public decision making. Failed post-colonial models will need to give way to an assertive politics that better fits the unique history of Lagos [2].

Government at both federal and state levels will have a critical role in promoting open access to information and ensuring standards of data management. To build trust and coordination, governments work in partnership with NGOs and businesses across the food system. Informal grass-roots political actors need to be included [2] A big trust issue has been the standards and safety of foods. By 2050 these issues will have been largely addressed through a combination of consumer activism, industry transparency, and accountable state monitoring.

Food security policies are based on the principle that basic nutrition is a social right. This implies a taxation and food subsidy regime that enables all citizens to be able to afford a basic diet. A taxation regime will also be in place to disincentivise some foods, particularly ultra-processed foods and foods with higher carbon or other negative environmental or social impacts. This can build on some of Lagos's relative success in taxation measures [3]. A role for data will be in keeping citizens highly informed and attuned to the consequences of these measures, given that public trust and support are central to robust taxation systems.

By 2050 universal direct payments [4], or less ambitiously universal services, are likely to be the most efficient and effective system to ensure food security for a city such as Lagos with a large low income population. As a transitional process, public and philanthropic funding is needed to support those agencies and services with the skills and experience to make food accessible to the hardest to reach groups.

Education policies will place a considerable emphasis on holistic and experiential learning about food. For younger ager groups in particular this will mean ensuring that children are enabled to understand their local food system [5]. With the speed of social change, education has shifted to the four ‘C’s of critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity [6]: qualities that will prepare students to take on very difficult food system issues. In the same vein, health policies will adopt an integrated approach to the health value of food beyond narrowly defined nutritional parameters.

Financial measures, such as incentives to lend or borrow, is precisely calibrated to promote social and environmental value. There is greater real time reporting to help the public track the consequences of such measures.

There is strong agreement and cooperation at an international level of food standards and practices – monitored – of course – through excellent data processes. Lagos as a large urban society is closely connected and dependent upon the global food system, however much the contribution of the local system can be enhanced. Therefore, the vision depends upon global food governance that defends global social, economic and environmental equity [7]. By the middle of the century ambitious UN global goals are focusing on quality and meaningful lives. In this context, there are international targets to enhance culinary traditions and the role of food in acts of celebration and reflection on the place of humanity and planet in the food system

Describe how these 6 Themes connect with and influence one another in your food system.

We see the themes intimately connected with each other. We imagine these as sorts of feedback loops in which there are virtuous circles and vicious spirals at work.

One way we see the connections is to look at the role of information in the food system of Lagos 2050. An information revolution will be transforming life at an increasing speed. But, we should be clear: this is not a vision where technology is the only driver of change – indeed the social and environmental dimensions enable and bring to life the food system.

The terms under which data are shared will be closely connected to policies on privacy and ownership. We envisage a policy context that promotes open data, transparency of reporting, crowd-source solutions. Political processes need to help define what the public need access to, and to provide assistance to make information accessible to all, even those that are less digitally literate and resourced.

Information technologies will also be embedded in their cultural context. Many faith groups in Lagos want to support good causes. Block chain technologies become popular as a route to determine the impact of good causes. People like to share news about their celebrations, so immersive holograms become popular to show off wedding reception feasts and meals at parties. People want to know where it came from and how it was produced.

In the economic sphere, information technologies will drive new forms of business. Online retail platforms will allow consumers to connect and buy from multiple local providers, to keep a track of the impacts of their purchases, and to guide them in the consequences of changing their consumption patterns. Food businesses compete to provide interesting stories and evidence of benefits of their activities. Third parties aggregate data from across the food economy to enable positive and meaningful transactions.

Dietary patterns in 2050 will be enabled by a host of data flows that help shape the people’s decisions about food. Availability of information is not the problem, but rather technologies help with providing robust, authoritative and selective information- without overloading people.

In 2050 it continues to be very difficult for city dwellers to understand how their actions impact upon the environment. As systems for tracing and modelling interactions with the environment improves, this improves how engaging, trustworthy and engaging the information feels for citizens. In turn, this influences how they interact with the environment both locally and globally.

Food systems change will itself become a large applied scientific and arts field. The one constant is ‘change’: we never cease to learn about the food system. This appreciation brings uncertainty, humility and responsibility for leaders. Engaging the public is a vocation in itself. With every citizen an actor in the food system, the greatest hope for positive change comes from enabling every citizen to make enlightened choices.

Describe any trade-offs you may have to make within your system to attain your Vision by 2050.

As with any highly complex system there will be a host of trade-offs that feature in the food system of Lagos in the year 2050.

Openness versus privacy. With respect to information about the food system, there is a tension between personal and corporate privacy and public value. One the one hand, new data processing technologies allow increasingly sophisticated ways to learn from patterns of behaviour, which in turn provide a basis for informed public dialogue and better decision-making. However, these technologies also raise issues around encroachments on the lives of individuals and companies – especially where the handling of data is concentrated by some parties. For the greater good of all, we see that carefully managed open data agreements will be needed. 

Machine algorithms versus human dialogue. As data algorithms become more sophisticated the opportunities to sensitively balance feedback processes in the food system become increasingly possible, providing a basis for a more finely tuned and resilient food system. However, the role of machine learning and artificial intelligence in this threatens to remove human decision-making from the food system. Our trade-off is to live with much imperfect human decision-making to avoid the risk of dictatorship by algorithms.

Human and animal welfare versus profits and affordability. As technological efficiencies take root they promise the opportunities to drive down costs of healthier foods, and disrupt the unsustainable animal production industries, particularly in beef and dairy. On the other hand, they will offer cheaper feed that will bring opportunities for the animal industry to maintain its economic viability, and for low cost ultra-processed foods

Automation versus nature connectedness. Advanced technologies, promise to reduce the costs of food production through increasingly automated processes. While this is likely to reduce employment opportunities and concentrate revenues, a profound trade-off to drive a disconnect between citizens, food and farming. Therefore, there is a balance to be struck between food accessibility and food alienation.

Heritage versus liberty and social justice. The revival of cultural aspects of foods may lead to embedding or revival of gender inequalities and other social disparities present within cultural traditions.

Intensive production versus the bio-sphere. Green space requirements for local food production will compete with the use of this space for nature conservation, ecological reconstruction and amenity

There are no simple solutions in each of these. This is why we see that highly informed, critically aware citizens - and the groups that represent their interests - are central to the resolution and settlement of these issues. Fortunately human understanding is not a zero sum and there are few trade-offs to be made in enabling citizens to make informed decisions about their actions on the food system.

3 Years | Describe 3 key milestones that you would need to achieve within the next three years for your Vision to be on track?

Change arises from what has come before: it is path dependent. With this in mind, we see the our Vision building directly out of the current events of the coronavirus pandemic in Lagos. This is a huge shock to the city’s food system, but one that will form a platform for action in the first 36 months. The milestones are therefore based around public feeling that we need better coordination, knowledge, effective reach and voluntary action – particular to assist those in food poverty. 

 Year 1 Milestone

Lagos food partnership is launched and running 

Harmonise the framework and methodology for clear unification of food system coding system and approaches

Set up Lagos food system research and knowledge hub

Establish the local agric-food network that push agric-food policy review towards healthy and organic production to support better nutrition and diet of the Lagos populace.

Establish community nutrition hubs/food banks in all LGAs

Deliver social media citizen food system awareness campaign, including Mywaste-Myfood, with links to donor aggregators


Year 2 Milestone

Lagos food partnership has expanded and delivered

Partnership joins MUFPP (international urban food policy group)

Research and knowledge hub produces Lagos food system data tech

Diversification of community hubs/food banks through supply system for perishable foods

Social media supports citizen donor and volunteering, and youth-based thought leadership


Year 3 Milestone

Lagos food partnership has consolidated and energised the city

Partnership consolidates food system, data and governance agenda for the future

Data analytics used to enhance operations of community hubs/food banks, agric-food networks and My-Waste My-Food

Research hub produces educational resources on Lagos food system for schools and colleges

Social media creative visioning campaign

10 Years | What progress will you need to make—by 2030—that would set your Vision up to become a reality by 2050?

The year 2030 marks the Sustainable Development Goal milestone of “Goal 2: Zero Hunger”. Given limited capacity, but the desire to achieve maximum impact, our 10 year strategy is to align with the SDGs. Our partnership will build on the framework developed in the first three years. We envisage scaling up the NGOs work – especially that of LFBI – through growing our donor base. Based on our track record, other revenue is plausible through research and programme funding aligned to our vision.

  • An alliance of food banks has marshalled its capacity and data intelligence to play a role in alleviating the worst effects of under-nutrition for key communities
  • An efficient system to provide nutritious food to populations at risk of food insecurity, particularly with respect to cold chain distribution systems that enable greater fresh food consumption.
  • Sensing technologies are deployed by NGOs to make better food decisions, discourage adulteration, and help track personal diets.
  • Increased influence in the legislative and strong advocacy in favour of food security and quality.
  • The partnership have started a revival and re-invention of many food traditions, cultures, in Lagos as an evolution of Nutritional Education Programs, assisted by creative social media
  • A growing food data tech sector in Lagos that brings together research, business and innovation agencies. They have hybrid social and commercial purposes.
  • Established NGOs and researcher organisations championing open food data for public benefit, promoting public interest in complex issues
  • Increased public policy impact and advocacy though influencing priorities and votes at the national and state levels about hunger issues and a sustainable food system.
  • Increased links between agricultural sector producers and urban consumers through food sales and purchase aggregating platforms
  • Growth in inter-generational schemes that match elders to minors and understanding of food traditions through celebrations.

If awarded the $200,000 prize what would you do with it?

We expect to fine tune this at the accelerator stage given that, for example, we would like to invest in ongoing collaboration with the other prize winners and wider global community of semi-finalists and competition advisors. Our guiding principle is to create benefit for the citizens of Lagos, with a focus on Lagos Food Bank Initiative in its work to improve the lives of people experiencing food insecurity.

The funds will support the delivery of the milestones for the first 36 months. They therefore fall into the following categories.

Collaboration and momentum. Creating a multi-sector partnership to convene expertise and cooperate on the vision. Including supporting Prize networking and support. Funding 20%

Research, data analytics and insight. Mapping the Lagos food system, with a focus on food insecurity and system leverage points. Reporting and disseminating learning on the prize project. Funding 20%.

Proof of concept delivery. Running data informed projects on food poverty, local food production, and food safety across Local Government Areas. Funding 40%

Vision building.  Public and private sector engagement through creative social media campaigning, donor building, volunteering, and thought leadership. Funding 20%

If you are chosen as a Top Visionary, The Rockefeller Foundation would like to share your Vision widely with a global audience. What would you like the world to learn from your Vision for 2050?

Over the past 30 years, the digital revolution has changed the way we communicate, learn, do business, buy, give, and create. It has driven big shifts in lifestyle, eating behaviour and food choices. And all this is now happening fast in Lagos, Africa’s most dynamic mega-city.

Take a journey 30 years into the future and imagine how data and information will be a part the food system of Lagos and the lives of its people.

We enter a city in which a great wealth of information is open to all, intuitive to use, and powerfully engaging. Data will provide the means through which all actors – but particularly civil society – create change in the food system. This transformation enables citizens to understand the origins of the food they eat and environmental impacts of their actions. It brings insight to tackle food injustice and new ways to energise food culture.

Today, the complex root causes of Lagos’s food system problems feel beyond comprehension. Connections between economy, health and the environment remain disjointed, often in ways that benefit the interests of some over others. With increased accessibility, data represents a medium for mass dialogue and new ways of acting. Lagos’s burgeoning young and digitally adept population will be at the heart this change.

The Lagos of 2050 will be a city that, through the power of popular insight, understands and acts on the food system to support social justice, dietary health, environmental concerns and economic well-being.

Please share a visual that communicates the structure and operation of your food system in 2050. Describe the visual.

We focus role of an informed civil society. The role that stakeholders play and their interactions with citizens is summarised with the concepts of ‘networking’ etc. Only fully engaged can Lagosians decide what this peoples’ plate should look like. In 2050, the information revolution allows citizens to engage with the food system in ways that are hardly possible now. Key forces are illustrated by the circular arrows: the system presents ongoing challenges to be addressed through dialogue.

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Team (9)

Janet's profile
Janet Ige

Role added on team:

"UWE team"

Michael's profile
Michael Sunbola

Role added on team:

"Lagos Food Bank Initiative"

ADEDOKUN's profile

Role added on team:

"UWE team"

Kelechi's profile
Kelechi Unaegbu

Role added on team:

"UWE team"

Sanda's profile
Sanda Ismail

Role added on team:

"UWE team"

Mat's profile
Richard's profile
Richard McClatchey

Role added on team:

"Richard MacCIatchey, Chair of Applied Computer Science at UWE, Bristol and brings extensive experience in managing the analysis and design of computer systems in international collaborations. My research is driven by a desire to enable user communities to have their large data sets understandable, accessible and intuitively useful in real-world settings. I am passionate about using computing to address pressing societal problems."

Vide's profile
Vide Adedayo

Role added on team:

"It has been great to be working with Dr Vide Adedayo at University of Lagos."

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Attachments (6)

Lagos Foodscape 2050 Full Vision v01.pdf

For the Refinement Phase, this document sets out the Full Vision

Refinement Submission- Evidence+Feasibility.pdf

For the Refinement Phase questions, this document provides the numerically cited list of sources of evidence and feasibility context

Lagos Foodscape Refinement Community Engagement Report v02.pdf

For the Refinement Phase, this is our report on some of our community engagement work with 683 people. It shows how we drew upon the covid-19 crisis to stimulate sharper ideas about the long term future. We were able to test out visuals for the animation - and surprisingly successful exercise! Finally it also guided us to think what our priorities might be moving forward in the next three years.

Lagos Food System Vision Refining the Vision v02.pdf

For the Open Submission Phase, this is where we show how we refined the Vision through mapping our stories to research, wider evidence, and people's lived experiences. References and weblinks to sources of evidence in the submission. Examples of other Food Vision Prize Submissions that helped us.

Lagos Food System Vision Citizen Engagement v03 high-res.pdf

For the Open Submission Phase, through events and surveys in December 2019, we reached out to 165 citizens and food system stakeholders in Lagos. They told us what they wanted to see in for the Lagos food system in 2050. We’ve had surprises, new insights, and big ideas on how to go forward to build our vision. This is just a beginning...

Lagos foodscape and the data revolution v06.pptx

Produced in the Open Submission Phase, this is a slide version of our process


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Photo of Itika Gupta

Hi Mat Jones congratulations on putting together Vision with such exceptional storytelling that effortlessly weaves all themes together. How might you us the time during refinement to detail out your Vision with pulling up some urgent and key ideas, and detailing out their feasibility?

Photo of Mat Jones

Hi Itika, Thank you for the encouragement. Our team members - both in Lagos and Bristol - have been caught up in addressing the covid-19 response and emergency food issues, so it has been really hard to make progress. We are pushing through nevertheless! BW Mat

Photo of Itika Gupta

Hey Mat Jones please let me know if there is anything I can assist with to help your team work though refinement in-spite of the COVID-19 limitations.

Photo of Vide Adedayo

Many thanks Dr Jones for linking up.

Photo of Mat Jones

Great to have you properly linked now up as a partner. We'll bring together the vision with your team's work.

Photo of Mat Jones

Hi Itika Gupta We have a a query from a private sector partner about their obligations when being named as part of the partnership.
My understanding is that the legal obligations rest with the lead agency "Legal Registered Entity" Therefore partners are supportive but not legally responsible and under obligation to when it comes to our answers to questions such as the first milestones.
You can see that partners just need to be clear whether they are entering into some form of contractual commitment. Regards Mat

Photo of Marian Stuiver

Dear Mat, what an interesting story, thanks for the inspiration that the digital revolution gives to develop new urban food systems! Please read our vision and comment on it if possible, kind regards Marian Stuiver

Photo of Apple Espino

Hey Mat Jones 

Such a bold and promising vision! The term "data revolution" and curiosity as a student with limited knowledge but great interest on the topic brought me here. I am struggling to be this bold given our country's economic and political structure. For sure, Nigeria has the same dynamics. And we are speaking about collecting immense data from the food system. Who's gonna own or control it? In my opinion, data will become gold as oil in 2050 or earlier. Also, while you only speak about urban Lagos (in our case a first class province in the Philippines), the food system goes beyond boundaries and so data revolution. How do you plan to include the surrounding communities that supply food to your Place yet continue to thrive below poverty line?

And what mechanisms do you have to make the data revolution feasible and manageable within a certain limit?

Cheers! And thank you!

Curious spud on the other side of the world,

Photo of Mat Jones

Hi Apple,
Thank you for your message. The matter of who owns data will grow to become a defining question of the 21st century. In our vision, we're see shared and public access to data as critical to enlightened food system. Noah Yuval Harrari on 21 Lessons for the 21st Century presents the issue in a clear and lucid fashion, and I recommend his work to everyone. He doesnt focus on the food system, but the ideas are transferable nevertheless.

The rural - urban connection is also critical as you point out. Again information and insight needs to be centre stage for, as human societies become increasingly urbanised, it becomes more important than ever that city dwellers understand and empathise with the rural settings for where most of their food comes from.
Good luck with everything in the Philippines!

Photo of Itika Gupta

Reading through the Refinement Visions, I came across other Visionary teams from various regions of Africa. Incase you haven't already, connecting you all Lori Herz Adefolami Agunbiade  John Casillas  Caroline Moh  Elizabeth Wardle Alexandra Ogden Johan Jorgensen Mat Jones  so you can provide some feedback on one another’s Vision submissions from the context of your region's most pressing challenges in the present and future. Happy connecting!

Photo of Egeonu Okey

Am delighted we got to this point of the competition. As a General physician in medical field who have spent quite number of years in Rural areas devoted much time on the health and wellbeing of the people, couple with vast knowledge gained in University of the west of England as a Master's student especially in in research and ethnics diversity.
I will be glad working in this next stage of your project to make it a dream come through.


I am so excited we got to this stage as public health masters student of UWE, I have gained a lot from the research process and wide networks through partnerships.

Photo of Itika Gupta

Dear Mat Jones  , Congratulations on being shortlisted as a Semi-Finalist. Welcome to Refinement!

Through refinement, we'd like to see the details in the broad strokes of the Vision you painted for your region.
How might you bring your Vision into sharper focus through:
1. Building partnerships and forming a systemic and multi-disciplinary Vision Team
2. Visualising your future food system to help people see and feel the future of their food system
3. Assessing the feasibility of your future food system to better anticipate its needs and challenges

We invite you to take full advantage of the open platform here – to tag in team members into your Vision, connect with other Refinement teams, and solicit feedback from participants around the world.

It’s great to continue with you into this next phase. Consider me your support for questions you might have while on this platform.

Looking forward to seeing a detailed and Refined Vision for your region in the coming weeks.

Photo of tosin olonijolu

congratulation on your vision scaling through to the refinement stage. I agreed that your previous efforts, wide coverage of research and professionalism in sustainable food production really spoke for your selection.
I wish to show my interest to collaborate with your team in bringing in the quality healthy vegetables and livestock to Lagos the commercial headquarter of my country and seeing Lagos as the prototype or pilot model for sustainable food production in Nigeria as we prepare for 2050

Photo of Kehinde Fashua

Hi Mat Jones Thank you for your amazing Vision on data revolution to accelerate opportunities to transform food system of Lagos. I love the story telling approach as well.
In a region where data is not readily available which you may already know about, do you think more can be done as regards this? You may also want to share how the Vision will connect and interrelate with the 6 Themes (diet, environment, culture, policy, technology and economy).
Also you can check criteria of evaluation the Vision on the Food System Vision Prize website in the section "How Your Vision will be Evaluated"

Photo of Mat Jones

Thank you Kehinde - all good advice. We're on to it!

Photo of Paul Woomer

I work with IITA and despite being posted in Nairobi I have frequent occasion to visit our Headquarters in Ibadan. We are presently working on a strategy to train youth in urban agriculture in Lagos (and elsewhere). It is our premise that there is hardly any urban agriculture in Lagos, rather just margins of rural agriculture being continuously displaced as the megacity expands in a mostly unplanned manner. Do you agree with this assessment and if so, what provision exists in your Vision to see urban agricultural production achieve a more permanent footing?

Photo of Mat Jones

Yes I agree with this assessment. Indeed some sectors of local food production in Lagos and the hinterland appear to be getting worse, although it's very hard to get good information. In the future I think the scope for urban ag. in Lagos will continue to face a host of obstacles. My sense is that the best opportunities will come with inspiration and innovation transfer from other more advanced urban contexts.

Photo of Paul Woomer

Nigeria is a tricky place to undertake horizontal technology transfer, but I will not go into this right now. But your vision should perhaps include a stronger element of modern urban agriculture within the Lagos Megacity, ones that will not simply be displaced by its growth. \for example, some of the city's freshwater wetland margins could become dedicated agricultural parks. We recently had some difficulty in identifying partners interested in the technologies of hydroponics, tank fish production, etc. Then we connected to the Africa Projects Development Center (in Abuja) that has both a youth and urban agriculture enterprise unit. It was started by a former Director of the African Development Bank and takes a longer-term view of development. Perhaps you should contact them?

Photo of Gregory  Kimani

Hello Mat.;
great vision for feeding the population, and your oration skills paints a clear picture of your envisioned 2050 in the mind.
All the best.

Photo of Mat Jones

Thanks for taking the time to read our draft submission - in the next version we'll try to polish the story lines even more to help us get our points across.