From Mama’s Kitchen to Metropolitan Beijing
Creating sustainability and restoring health and nature through plant-based food innovation
Good Food New Year Event 2020
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Good Food Fund of the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small NGO (under 50 employees)
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
1. Slow Food Greater China, our strategic partner, aims to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions.
2. Tianren Culture, founded by Victor Koo,one of the most influential Internet entrepreneurs of China, is dedicated to promoting dietary shifts to improve public health.
3. Yale U Hospitality, cofounder of the Food Forward Forum in 2019.
4. China Cuisine Association, a national guild of the catering industry, authorized by the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China
5. Xinzhuang Village, the first eco-village and pioneer in recycling, zero-waste, and eco-lifestyle education in Zhangping district, Beijing
6. The Chefs' Manifesto, a community of 500+ chefs in over 70 countries, inspiring people to make changes in their kitchens and communities.
7. Brighter Green, a policy “action tank” based in New York,our long time strategic partner, helping launch and accelerate a “good food” movement in China, spans research, advocacy and collaborative network creation
Website of Legally Registered Entity
WeChat id: WFDinner or 何以为食
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
Beijing, the capital city of China, covers an area of 16,411 km²
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
The China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) is one of China’s most active environmental non-governmental organizations and social legal entities working to protect the environment, preserve natural resources and biodiversity in China. Founded in 1985, it is one of China's oldest environmental non-governmental organizations. It is headquartered in Beijing and has developed profound partner relationships in Beijing.
We, the Good Food Fund (GFF), is a team under the CBCGDF. We aim to facilitate shifts in food production, distribution and consumption patterns towards a healthier and more sustainable food system, by supporting relevant research, communication, and entrepreneurship efforts. Located in Beijing, GFF has built extensive connections in Beijing (and across China) with the Chinese culinary society, the food service industry, chefs, universities, non-profit organizations and numerous associations and communities. GFF has organized two annual Good Food Festival/New Year Food Fashion Shows in Beijing. The more recent one took place between January 4-6, 2020, in the eco-village of Xinzhuang in the northern outskirts of Beijing. The final cooking contest for the 2020 festival took place in 19 kitchens of the villagers and was a successful attempt to engage communities in innovating plant-based recipes. All recipes were put on Going to Kitchen, the most popular recipe app in the nation, for people to learn from and cook during the Chinese New Year festival.
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.
Beijing's administrative districts
crowded public transport
Beijing roast duck, a famous dish
a metropolitan city with high rise buildings and large population
the Forbidden City of Beijing
Beijing, the capital city of China
Beijing, the capital city of China, has 3,000 years of recorded history and was the capital of six ancient dynasties. Beijing is now the second-biggest city in China. It is the country's main political, educational, economic and high-tech development hub. Currently, there are about 20 million people living in Beijing. On the one hand, as the capital of Chinese dynasties and state for centuries, it boasts one of China’s richest and most distinctive regional cultural heritages, while on the other, being home to migrants from all over China and expats from across the globe, Beijing is arguably the nation’s most culturally diverse city.
The traditional food in Beijing has a long historical standing. It is a mix of Han, Hui, Mongolian and Manchu cuisines as well as the royal cuisine of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Beijing’s traditional cuisine boasts the characters of northern China, where people tend to eat more (red) meat and dairy, as calories, fat, and protein to strengthen their bodies against the chilly weather. Most meat dishes are based on mutton, pork, beef, chicken, duck, and fish. Famous representatives of Beijing cuisine are Beijing Roast Duck, mutton hotpot and stewed liver, among others. With incomes increasing, as in other parts of the world, people in Beijing also have increased their intake of animal-based foods.
As a metropolitan city with a dense population, Beijing has been suffering from "big city diseases", characterized by many inhabitants as an overcrowded, polluted city with too many people living in it. The residents in Beijing often struggle with problems like long distance commuting, packed public transportation, traffic jams, soaring living expenses and insufficient public services like hospitals and schools. Many people in Beijing also don't have much time left for food preparation and cooking; therefore, the frequency of outside eating the home increases, and with it, the intake of processed and fast foods that can be ready to serve within minutes.
Just like in other cities, obesity and overweight, cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases associated with high sugar and saturated fat consumption are on the rise in Beijing. A recent report issued by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the obesity rate in Beijing was 25.9 %, while the average national obesity rate was 11.9 %.
The shift to healthier, more plant-based diets and meals cooked in the home and eaten outside in restaurants, food kiosks, workplaces, and university campuses not only helps to alleviate the pressure of land demands from Beijing, it will also contribute to reducing the increase of overweight, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases (DRNCDs) as well as total mortality for urban residents. This shift can also help revitalize and “seed” new forms of sustainable farming and agricultural production, and in doing so, support a new vision of the relationship between urban dwellers and the agricultural economy and landscape.
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.
There will be nearly 10 billion people on Earth by 2050, if not more, given current projections. The shortfall between the amount of food we produce today and the amount needed to feed everyone in 2050 are enormous. As incomes rise, past trends show that people will increasingly consume more resource-intensive, animal-based foods. Consumption of ruminant meat (beef, lamb and goat) is projected to rise 80 percent between 2020 and 2050. Meanwhile, a growing scientific and policy consensus exists that people urgently need to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agricultural production and stop conversion of remaining forests to agricultural land.
How can the world feed at least 10 billion people by 2050 while also advancing economic development, protecting and restoring forests and other ecosystems, and stabilizing the climate? Research shows that as a result of expected changes in population and income levels, the environmental effects of the food system could increase by 50–90% in the absence of technological changes and dedicated mitigation measures, thereby reaching levels that breach the planetary boundaries that define a safe operating space for humanity. These are some of the most severe challenges we are facing today and will be by 2050, in all parts of the world.
Some experts estimate that in 2050 there will be more than 50 million people living in Beijing. With double the population, the challenges to the food system are extremely serious. Like other big metropolitan areas around the world, Beijing is now and will be dealing with enormous environmental challenges posed by the existing food system. Currently, China represents 28.5% of the global intake of animal flesh and animal derivatives, and the demand is still rising. Data from nationally representative surveys show that land demands per capita for food consumption in Beijing in 2016 amounted to 1227.04 m2/a, resulting in the total land demands of 266.62*104hm2, with animal product consumption accounting for 70.36% and urban consumption accounting for more than 95%.
The new coronavirus outbreak, which is believed to be caused by game (or wild) meat consumption, has alarmed the nation and awakened many Chinese to the importance of a proper diet. For most of its long civilization, the Chinese nation followed a predominantly plant-based diet. It is only during these past few decades that we have seen a major shift to a meat-heavy, animal protein-based dietary pattern throughout China. Promoting a dietary shift back to a pattern that is more plant-based is undoubtedly needed to safeguard public health and biodiversity; mitigate climate change; protect food security and safety; and improve animal welfare.
In sum, how to provide a growing global population with healthy diets from sustainable food systems is one of the major challenges we are facing today and will be in the future unless we reimagine food, agriculture, and eating.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Although the food system has already presented challenges to people’s health and environment, it can be a part of the solution too! It has great potential to nurture human health and support environmental sustainability.
Plant-based food systems and cuisine emit fewer GHGs than animal-based ones, use less water, can lead to more diversity in crop production and can, therefore, provide new avenues for sustainable agriculture that also pays farmers and agricultural workers a decent wage and allows for a decent living. A scenario analysis of Beijing residents following the national Dietary Guidelines for the General Population shows that by shifting to a larger proportion of healthy plants-based foods in people's diets, between 5 and 8 times the current arable land area in Beijing will be saved (or “spared”) by 2050.
Food is at the center of a nexus of complex ecological, socio-economic, and philosophical issues. We envision that a “Good Food” system encompasses food choices, crop selection, production, storage, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste management, as well as all the related socio-economic activities involved in the entire value chain in a holistic way.
The Good Food Hub is a pilot community-centered place, coupled with smartphone app, that drives and facilities plant-based dietary transformation in the city of Beijing. The Hub serves as a kitchen lab, pop-up restaurant, learning center, resource library, and social media studio, while connecting to eco-farms and communities and restoring healthy eating habits and nature through the creative use of technology. We encourage every person to learn more about the food system and the nexus of issues and to then shape one’s own definition of “good food”.
By emphasizing creativity in cooking and presenting plant-based ingredients, consumers will be helped to shift towards a more plant-based diet while celebrating ecosystems and cultures. The community based Good Food Hub will make it possible for people to live closer to nature and helps to decentralize the city into multiple sub-centers, and hence to relieve “big city diseases” and restore nature and human relationships with the natural world.
The Good Food smartphone app helps to build up an online community of home chefs and the broad array of people who prepare meals in for example restaurants, on university campuses, and in corporate canteens. Improvements in technologies and management with instant collection and exchange of data on the app will help to connect supply with demand and reduce food loss and waste.
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.
Being the world’s most populous nation and second largest economy, China can contribute greatly to global mitigation of GHG emissions and pollution alleviation by shifting to plant-based diets. As shown by the EAT-Lancet Commission Report and many other evidence-based research results, such a dietary transformation can be the single most important lever we have to bring about a better future on the planet.
In 2050, most people will adopt plant-based diets and have easy access to healthy, freshly made and nourishing foods with the help of numerous Good Food Hubs widely spread in Beijing, across China and indeed around the world. The reduced growth of food demand and dietary shift to plant-based food helps to save more arable land and to protect and restore natural ecosystems. Intensive animal farming will be eliminated and replaced by organic, sustainable farms. This will improve the environment, avoiding “overshoot” of planetary boundaries.
The Good Food App improves management from field to table, thus ensuring less food loss and waste occurs along the food chain. Clusters of farmers and residents help decentralize the megacity of Beijing into multiple sub-centers, which leads to reduced emissions and lowers the anxiety produced by jammed transportation. The relationship between humans and non-humans and nature will be greatly ameliorated. Many fewer people will suffer from overweight, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases. People are more connected to nature and to each other and are more likely to live a happier life.
Given Beijing’s significant geopolitical role, to have the city taking a lead on food systems transformations could have a huge influence on other metropolitan areas in China, the surrounding countryside and other countries around the world.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
In 2050, although Beijing has 40 million people, it is much less crowded and less polluted. Thanks to the development of technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, IoT, blockchain, and visual reality, people enjoy much more leisure time with greatly improved efficiency. There is no need for the majority of people to commute to a centralized working place and most professional activities can be done with through a digital network. People live in communities centered around Good Food Hubs in idyllic and picturesque natural surroundings. People have easy access to fresh, plant-based food from Good Food Hubs and enjoy more quality time with friends, families, and their community, which can be the most enjoyable time in a day since most work-related activities are done digitally, without face to face communication and collaboration.
With years of effort of by Good Food Hubs, plant-based diets become mainstream and people naturally adopt a whole-food, plant-based diet in their daily lives. The built-in food labs in the Hubs have explored more than 30,000 plants that are known to be edible and have created large numbers of well balanced and tasty recipes, as well as new arenas of farming and economic activity.
The technologies explored by and integrated into the Good Food Hubs have pushed farming in 2050 to grand new, strongly sustainable levels. Smart agriculture is already becoming more commonplace among farmers and improves day to day efficiency. Food is produced precisely to the amount of demand to reduce loss and waste. The Good Food app collects and analyzes people’s preference on food and health indicators and automatically generates daily guidance for menus and ordering forms. Just one click and a whole set of fresh-picked food materials will be available for you to collect or cook in the Good Food Hub.
In addition to dramatic shifts in the food system, agriculture and the agricultural economy has been advanced in more efficient and productive ways culturally speaking, a plant-forward dietary shift can bring us closer to a new civilization where man and nature are one and humanity connects to natural resources in a regenerative way. Promoted in this way by the Good Food Hubs, food not only nourishes our minds and bodies, but our communities and habitats as well. A transition to plant-forward diets also reconnects people to the extraordinary Chinese culinary traditions celebrated by our ancestors. Tapping into age-old wisdom on healthy and diverse cuisine allows people to reclaim their heritage and traditions and join these to new knowledge, insights, and technologies to shape a more sustainable, equitable future.
Meanwhile, the Good Food Hub has been the catalyst for policy changes in China. Powerful as the Chinese state is, it has to handle issues like private eating very carefully so as not to affect social stability. The government needs the right signal from society before it can come on board. Our home chef approach introduces small changes in individual families and communities, and by proliferating the transition in a gradual, easy-to-accept way, China can avoid abrupt, one-fits-all policymaking pitfalls.
We also would like to share our vision for a pilot Good Food Hub in Xinzhuang, Beijing. A non-for-profit restaurant with equipment that can serve as a training center for chefs, a research lab for creative dishes, a classroom for schools, and a studio for social and other media creation will be built in the Xinzhuang community in northern Beijing. The Hub will have a full-time chef/manager to direct daily operations, coordinate home chefs and in-residence chef applications and selection, and to maintain the facilities. The Hub will partner with local eco-farmers, selected foodsheds and food corporations that have adopted GFF's “Good Food Pledge”. Coupled with the Hub, a Good Food App will be developed to serve as an online community for home chefs, i.e., the people who prepare meals for the family, mostly moms, dads and grandmothers.
The App features a library of recipes created by the chefs in the Good Food Hub, along with easy, step-by-step instructions in cooking plant-based cuisines, a convenient built-in meal planner converter and shopping lists Each week, the app will select the one or two most applauded home chef(s), who will receive awards and be given an opportunity do a residency in the Good Food Hub and prepare a pop-up novelty dinner for registered guests together with profession chefs during a weekend.
A chef-in-residence program also will be a feature of the Hub to recruit chefs from all parts of the world, who would bring to Beijing (and China) their wisdom and experience of different cuisines, and to undertake research on new ways of utilizing edible plants and to create sustainable and healthy recipes from these ingredients. During weekdays, the Hub will host various kinds of workshops, training and social media broadcasts to educate and engage the public and policymakers.
The Hub can be replicated in other cities to celebrate local, biodiverse ingredients.
In the past three years, the Good Food Fund (GFF) team has worked on multiple areas to prepare for the establishment of Good Food Hub initiative, as follows:
- GFF enjoys a unique strategic position as China’s leading organization working on dietary and food system transformation. It has organized three annual Good Food Summits (GFS), one Food Forward Forum and two annual Good Food Festival (GFF)/New Year Food Fashion Shows. The GFS has become an annual gathering of leading change-makers in the food space, while the GFF is a yearly celebration of chefs’ leadership in transforming our food system. The most recent of GFF took place between January 4-6, 2020, in the eco-village of Xinzhuang in the northern outskirts of Beijing. The final cooking contest for the 2020 festival took place in 19 kitchens of the villagers and was a successful attempt to engage communities in innovating plant-based recipes. All recipes were put on Going to Kitchen, the most popular recipe app in the nation, for people to learn about and use during the Chinese New Year festival.
- GFF has launched the National Alliance for Good Food Designers, focusing on building a community of professional chefs and home cooks dedicated to leadership on good food. The first certified training for the candidates of the Alliance was organized on January 6, 2020 with a 12-person mentoring team consisting of some of the nation’s and world’s leading figures in the eight areas of commitment contained in by the Good Food Pledge.
- GFF has also designed an educational toolkit for chefs to prepare them to be plant-forward chef-educators.
- Through a national contest, GFF has reinvented Chinese characters for plant-based food, in an unprecedented effort to revolutionize the social discourse around plant-based dining to avoid the pitfalls posed by current Chinese words for “vegetarianism” that have strong religious and historical burdens.
- GFF is the most active non-profit organization in China working on dietary shift. In the past few years, we have built partnerships with Slow Food, Meatless Monday, China Cuisine Association, universities (including Peking University, Yale, Culinary Institute of America, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, University of Massachusett at Amhurst, University of Connecticut, etc.), entrepreneurs, youth groups, local food producers, food corporations like He’ran Organic (one of China’s largest condiment producers), Oatly, as well as top media organizations, including Southern Weekly, Caixin, thepaper.cn, and China Dialogue, among others.
- GFF has officially launched the China Meat Atlas, the first major data project popularizing knowledge about China's over-consumption of animal products, which has gained the attention of top media outlets.
- In 2019, GFF launched the Good Food Fellowship and the Good Food Junior Fellowship program to identify and train leaders in the food space.
- GFF is considered by many as a key leader training and encouraging China’s future leaders in the sustainable and equitable food space.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?
Describe how your Vision developed over the course of the Refinement Phase.
The COVID-19 outbreak was first declared in our country shortly after the first FSVP phase. It has acted as a wake-up call for our shared risks and responsibilities and the consequences of keeping “business as usual.” Thus, the Chinese government has banned wildlife trade for food and some cities have subsequently outlawed eating dogs and cats. However, we need to do more about our problematic and risky relations with animals in food. We have therefore strengthened our vision on food policy and governance informed by our initiative targeted at Wuhan, including a proposal for the nation’s first Food Policy Council. For instance, having been interviewed by media about “wet markets,” we have developed a connection between our Good Food Hub and these markets. During the pandemic, we see even more urgent need for cities like Wuhan to embrace our vision and start a Good Food Hub.
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).
Brighter Green; Slow Food Greater China; Chewing Theory; SEN - Permaculture center; Good Food Education Camp; Tianren Culture.
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.
We have collected and discussed visions with the following groups via Internet calls:
1) Chefs - some of the top chefs who have participated in our Good Food Festivals before, ages ranging from 70 to late 20s.
2) Parents of young children - ages ranging from 40s to 20s, learning about their concerns over nutrition.
3) College students - learning about their visions for the future food system.
4) Designers - ages in their 20s
5) Food activists - ages ranging from 50s to 20s, discussing their food policy advocacy since the outbreak of COVID-19.
6) Senior citizens - above the age of 60, learning about their diet-related health concerns.
7) Small farmers - learning about their concerns for the food system and their visions for change.
What signals and trends did you draw from to inform your Vision? Please provide data or examples that back up each signal or trend.
1. Personal health/nutrition: Today roughly 11 million deaths of adults worldwide are diet-related, according to the EAT-Lancet Report. Statistics reveal that non-communicable diseases in the Chinese population have increased rapidly in the past decades. Diet causes more than half of the disease burden in China (Afshin et.al. 2019).
2. Food system transformation is a global imperative. The hidden health and environmental costs of food exceed total global agricultural revenue even without accounting for the costs of COVID-19. Globally, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from food account for roughly one quarter of all human-caused GHGs. Consequently, it will not be possible to achieve a safe climate without tackling food. Left unchecked, emissions from food could rise to account for more than half of the allowable 2050 carbon budget.
3. Pandemic: Zoonotic diseases caused by large concentrations of animals and loss of habitats for wildlife pose increasing public health hazards.
4. Food policies are shifting away from meeting calorie demands and towards improving health as proven by the latest revision of China’s National Dietary guidelines in 2016 (Chang, 2018).
5. China is already the world’s largest food producer and consumer. China’s demand is reshaping agri-food governance, production, processing, logistics, and sales at home, across Asia, and in every corner of the globe within most multilateral trade fora..
6. China added “Ecological Civilization” to its constitution. It invests heavily in green energy as a development strategy. China’s leaders are already demonstrating the political will necessary around food safety, environmental protection, and public health policy (Pan, 2016).
1. Healthy China 2030 — a national blueprint issued in 2016, acknowledging that industrialization, urbanization, an aging population, and environmental change have created new health challenges (Chen et.al. 2019). By 2030 the plan aims to control negative factors in population health, promote healthy lifestyles, guarantee food safety, and establish a sound governance system and legal framework for health.
2. China banned wild animal trading for food since the COVID-19 outbreak. The metropolises of Shenzhen and Zhuhai have taken a step further to be the first cities to outlaw consumption of dogs and cats. These unprecedented measures have sent a strong signal of the government’s heightened alert for zoonotic diseases and their catastrophic implications for public health.
3. Major research shows that 80% of the children tested in the Yangtze River Delta have antibiotics in farm animals detected in their urine.
4. Industry-wise, KFC and Starbucks, among others, started selling plant-based meat products in China.
5. China feels pressured to invest in more global public goods. At the latest World Health Assembly, Chinese President Xi announced that China will make all of its upcoming COVID-19 vaccines a “global public good”.
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.).
Please feel the energy of our future Hub from the pictures below which were taken during our 2nd edition of the Good Food Festival, which is the prototype for the Good Food Hub. This past edition was fortunately held in a local community in Beijing during the first weekend of January 2020, just days before the outbreak of COVID-19. We believe the future hub will be even more exciting.
An imaginary picture of part of a Good Food Hub, where chefs are working with people from the community, with classes, workshops, lectures and cooking demos.
This is a sketch of a Day in Life based on the text below.
M is on maternity leave and receives state subsidies for her breastfeeding months. M breastfeeds her eight-month-old K, gets up at 7 am, picks some leafy vegetables from her balcony, and adds them to her breakfast. At 9 she takes K in a stroller and goes to visit her grandma G at an old people’s home. G and her fellow residents are energetic thanks to the simple nutritious foods prepared by well-trained chefs. In 2050, Beijing is now one of the nation's most aging cities and has invested a lot in healthy diets for its senior citizens.
At 10 am M goes to the community food market, where she buys some fresh produce and fruits for supper and uses her food coupons to collect natural nutrition bars for herself and K. These bars are produced at a local kitchen run by women using local, seasonal ingredients. M moves on to the Good Food Hub, where she attends a nutrition workshop and collects state-subsidised food coupons for next week. She also signs up for the weekend lectures and bakery workshops at the Hub and repays for the Saturday lunch there to be jointly served by a resident chef from Nepal and two parents from her neighborhood. M breastfeeds K and has a simple but tasty and balanced lunch there at the Hub with local farmers whom she got to know at last weekend’s events.
As M is leaving the Hub to take K back home for a nap, Chef C of the old people’s home enters the Hub after he has finished his lunch service at work. There he will join Chef D from a restaurant, Chef E from a kindergarten and several culinary students for a workshop with the resident Nepali chef to learn techniques on cooking lentils and using turmeric. They are encouraged to experiment with some traditional Chinese herb locally grown as spice or sauce. They will introduce their innovations to the community over the weekend and invite their feedback for improvement before they will finally apply them to their respective workplaces with input from dietitians in a month or so.
Environment | How will your food system of 2050 adapt to climate change and remain resilient?
Historically, China has been an agricultural giant. Our ancestors knew that, as a nation, we were bound to our land for survival and prosperity. They knew that agricultural resources were finite and they must allocate them in a wise way, which included feeding humans directly instead of feeding farm animals and then humans. We envision our food system in the year 2050 to be centered around the constraints of our ecological system. That means our food production will be based on good stewardship rather than exploitation and abuse of natural resources.
Lancet Commission report on the Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change defines climate change as a pandemic. According to the 2019 EAT-Lancet Report, a drastic transition to plant-based diets is among the most effective ways to stay within the planetary boundary by 2050. Substantial shifts away from consumption of animal protein will lead to a “triple duty action” to address undernutrition, obesity and climate change.
A plant-based transformation will enable us to allocate a good deal of natural resources to feeding the human population directly. In turn, this will help us to improve food production practices by reducing the monoculture of the feed industry. We will contribute to the preservation of rainforests and the oceans — all beneficial to meeting our environmental goals.
Regenerative agriculture will become the norm, so our production of food not only helps us better adapt to climate changes but also helps mitigate it. A much richer diversity of crops will give us a wider range of choices for climate resilient crops.
The grave urban–rural divide developed under the Maoist/Soviet policies will largely diminish as more and more people move closer to food production and work remotely on the Internet, which reduces carbon footprints from food and increases their chances of getting fresh and safe foods. The Good Food Hub, which we developed in 2020 and was awarded by the Food System Vision Award, will become the classic model for community kitchens that not only provide safe, healthy, locally-sourced, delicious food but also a public space for community-building and food education.
Today chef education no longer merely recognizes the improvement of culinary skills but also an appreciation for optimal health and minimal climate impact. Additionally, chefs’ leadership is widely recognized by the public in championing healthy and sustainable dietary patterns.
Small local farms will dominate our rural landscape. Most of the fresh produce families, food services, and restaurants consume will be locally sourced. Projects like urban agriculture and edible schoolyards will be popularized among Beijing residents. Food literacy programs will be well-established across the city, from K-12 schools to colleges to offices and communities. Climate resilience will be included in the core values of the food literacy education. Beijing residents, who have been through SARS in the early 2000s, smog pollution in the 2010s, and COVID-19 in 2020, understand that personal health is tied to population health and the ecological system’s health.
Thanks to the efforts made thus far, sustainable dietary choices will soon be included in the China National Dietary Guidelines and carry similar weight as the recommendations for diets that optimize personal health. And in the core of the “sustainability diets” lies the “low carbon” recommendations for optimal public health impact.
The true costs of our food production will be largely reflected in the price tabs of the produce and animal products that people buy. In Beijing, where our proposed project is based and where people enjoy the highest average income in the nation, a climate tax will be imposed on food products with large carbon footprints, which include but are not limited to most animal products, imported goods, and highly-processed foods. The tax income will be allocated to support government, civil society, and corporate campaigns to mitigate climate change.
The food industry will also embrace a low carbon value proposition. Overpackaging of products should be outlawed and replaced by regulations that encourage upcycling of packaging, minimal packaging, and energy-intense storage. Since people will be living in communities closer to food production locations, shipping of these products will also drop significantly
By 2050, after 40+ years of development, alternative proteins such as plant-based meat, eggs, and milk will replace animal protein as the low-carbon healthier option. Further, we will have a wide range of climate adaptable product lines available for consumers.
Foods with high climate footprints should not be advertised on the media or in public spaces. Food waste will be reduced by half in the city of Beijing by 2050-- another important fact that will help humanity stay within the planetary boundary.
Diets | How will your food system of 2050 address malnutrition in all its forms (undernutrition, micronutrient deficiency, metabolic disease) for the people living there?
According to researchers by the Lancet commissions, unhealthy diets cost us a minimum of 11 million adult lives globally every year – a number much larger than the number of lives COVID-19 has claimed. Between now and 2050, many malnutrition problems will be addressed and improved. A balanced diet not only requires the individual to have good food literacy and make smart dietary choices but also is the outcome and responsibility of a balanced and just food system, which we at the Good Food Fund are committed to achieving.
First of all, we envision that the city of Beijing will adopt food policies that put public health at the center and address what we know as the “multi burdens of malnutrition” – hunger from lack of access to food, hidden hunger from lack of micronutrients, and obesity from over-nutrition. Diet-related diseases are confronted with preemptive measures through health-centered food policies at the government and institutional levels, support systems at the community level, food education in schools, workplaces and through the media, and mandatory labeling on food items in stores and menus.
According to the Lancet Commission Report on Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change, undernutrition is linked to obesity and climate change. A redesign of our food landscape will start to be implemented in the 2020s, which includes a system transformation that supports healthier food and taxes foods that have high social, economic, and environmental costs, such as animal protein and sodas. Undernutrition and obesity are two sides of the same coin and should be addressed concurrently.
We envision that by 2050 the municipality of Beijing will be home to one of China’s most aging societies. Diet and nutrition for the city population should be well designed to meet the age-specific demands of the population, guided by science, policies, and new technologies.
Reduction of human reliance on animal protein also releases additional agricultural resources for growing more diverse plants for human consumption. Alternative protein will be very healthy and highly accessible and will be able to provide a rich variety of options with high nutritional values catering to human needs at different stages of their lives. Soil will also be improved with less chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides that once destroyed microorganisms in the soil.
By 2050, Beijing’s municipal government will have ruled out the possibilities for foods with low nutrition values and higher health risks, such as most animal products, soda and highly processed foods, to enter K-12 schools, college campuses and public spaces, likeparks. These products will not be advertised on public media or in public spaces. Government-supported food literacy programs will be made into school curricula and media campaigns for adults.
Nutrition issues start young and sometimes even before birth. In Beijing by 2050, adults preparing for pregnancy or delivery will receive free mandatory health and well-being workshops both online and onsite so that they will have sufficient knowledge in terms of rightly feeding themselves and their growing families. Low income families will receive support for quality food that has good nutrient density and that micronutrients are made available for the children.
Regardless of their family income, babies and toddlers across the city will be better taken care of during the first 1000 days of their growth, ensuring sufficient breastfeeding and intakes of healthy, plant-based micronutrients to avoid stunts and early-life undernutrition. Vast majority of children and adults drink fruit water, plant-based milk and smoothies (with a wide range of fortified options) instead of dairy milk since most Chinese are lactose intolerant. Sodas with added sugar will be highly taxed and allowed to be sold to adults with restrictions. Ultra-processed foods will be regulated and kept off school cafeterias’ shelves.
Whole-food and plant-based choices will become the mainstream choice for children and adults and will be offered as the main option at restaurants and food services.
Government investment in healthy soil and growing public support will have been the prime drive for regenerative agriculture that preserves and increases micronutrients and nutrient density in the soil. Good productions are not evaluated merely by efficiency but also by the nutrient values of the food that grow on the land.
Better understanding of Chinese medicines will be achieved with time and with continual integration of traditional herbs into diets as spices, condiments, side dishes, and food supplements. These new varieties will be developed together by food scientists and chefs.
Nutritional values and climate resilience of regional plant specialties will be studied and introduced to agricultural production to increase crop diversity as well as to discover more alternatives for feeding Beijing’s population.
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?
Fostering and championing leadership in the food space lies in our core mission, which is why our proposed Good Food Hub will be a community-based training academy for chefs and home caretakers to be also dietitians and lifestyle mentors at their workplaces or homes. This will fundamentally change the family power dynamic and give the caretaker, usually the woman/mother/grandmother, more say in the family and more opportunities to be a role model for their children, who will in turn learn from the healthier lifestyles that their mother or grandma lives. This will also revolutionize the chef profession, elevating it from what it is now generally a passive, obscure and less respected social status to a higher status as a healthy and sustainable lifestyle coach and mentor. More leading female chefs will thus emerge.
The same thing can be said of farmers. Farmers, often referred to as “peasants” in China, usually fall into a low social status in Chinese society. During Mao’s era, despite being part of the great proletariat according to the official Communist rhetoric, farmers often suffered from exploitation, loss of livelihood and mobility due to the strict urban-rural divide imposed by the authorities. Since the economic reforms started at the end of 1970s, many young people from rural areas performed migrant work in the city and their homeland fell prey to bad agriculture practices, mining, and other unsustainable and highly polluting industries, a fact that further made farming and living a rural life unattractive to the younger generations. Yet the lockdown and economic slowdown brought by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has resulted in unemployment in the city and many people are locked down in their home village without an income.
The Chinese government has in the last decade or so invested heavily in rural revitalization schemes, hoping to increase vitality in rural China. It has attached so much importance to rural livelihood that in the late 2010s, the central government of China renamed its Ministry of Agriculture to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. However, we envision that true revitalization of the rural areas has to come from both food production and rural livelihood that place well-being and sustainability at the core of their value proposition. Only such long-term change can create long-lasting food security and thus job security for the farming population, which we envision in 2050 will mainly consist of small to medium farmers, almost half of which will be women.
Community-based food markets will play a major role in China's urban food system in 2050 — supporting the livelihood of small farmers and retailers and allowing easy access to inexpensive, fresh, local produce for the urban population. Currently due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a great deal of international pressure on China to close down its “wet markets,” a term that actually does not exist in the Chinese language. In China, what’s known as “wet markets” can be a wide range of farmers’ markets, which have been playing important roles in China’s food value chain and urban food landscape. In these markets, small farmers and home vegetable growers are supported and their fresh produce and dried products are given prominence in the market. They provide livelihood to local small farmers and a comfortable community space for neighbors to interact with one another. The real issue lies in the live animal trades, which we envision after COVID-19 will be seriously regulated. Women will play a critical leadership role in the designing and managing of such markets.
In 2050, alternative protein products will replace animal flesh, eggs, and dairy products and occupy what is now the “Meat” or “Protein” section of the market. More small farmers will be able to gain better livelihoods by providing ingredients for these products, which are much more diverse than the traditional animal meat products.
Support for breastfeeding will be an integral part of our public nutrition policy and critical economic arrangements will be made to support women in this role.
Our food system will have become a central part of our circular economy by reducing food waste at the entire food value chain, and upcycling and recycling will become the norm.
Integration of Chinese herbs into diets will create new opportunities for farmers, food science majors and chefs.
Culture | How will your 2050 food system ensure that the cultural, spiritual and community traditions and/or practices in your Place flourish?
As mentioned in the last section, the community-based markets known in the West as the “wet markets” are an important part of the Chinese urban food landscape, which connects urban neighborhoods with small farmers. These markets will be preserved, redesigned, and appreciated for their important role of providing fresh, healthy produce for the public, while animal product sales will be strictly regulated and monitored. Live animal trades will be banned in these markets.
We envision that in 2050, every major community-based food market in the city will host one of our Good Food Hubs (GFHs) or a replica, the first of which we propose through this application. By 2050, more and more such markets will become the city’s “food oasis,” ensuring that no food deserts exist in the city.
The GFH will turn a market into a civic food space for the neighborhood. It is where food travels from farm to table, presented by those who care for and love food and their fellow citizens. It will be where the city’s most interesting dialogues about food take place not just among activists or academics but everyone in the community. It will be the community kitchen where citizens can appreciate tasty, healthy and sustainable foods. It will be a studio, which connects the market with a larger online audience. It will also be a training ground for young chefs and family cooks. Better management of food waste will also be a central theme discussed, tested and learned at the GFHs.
We also envision that our GFH, sitting right inside the community food market, will also make possible and give rise to China’s first “People’s Food Council,” a grassroots, self-organized committee whose members will be elected by local residents to protect the sovereignty of the local community on governing issues related to their food, health and environment. We think it is important that food is not only something that fuels us but also something that nourishes our minds and builds our communities. We think it is important that these dialogues around food are not just dominated by policy-makers, academics, or businesses but also that ordinary citizens join the conversation.
The above proposal will revitalize urban food culture in Beijing. We aim to build a culture of mindfulness eating, which is fundamental for any meaningful changes to last.
In most part of our history, knowledge and wisdom about food were passed down through the generations. This process was disrupted by urbanization and industrialization of food production. Since raising food literacy lies in the core of GFH, we envision that by 2050 this old transition will be revitalized.
Urban farming using regenerative methods will become the new norm and cities will become “edible” with vegetables and fruits grown over their land. The rural landscape too will be much more attractive than it is today because monoculture will be largely replaced by agriculture practices that are centered around biodiversity. Biodiversity and cultural diversity will both be the manifestos of a revitalized rural food landscape in 2050.
As part of rural revitalization, farms will generally be much smaller in scale and farmers will form a symbiosis with the plants, insects, and animals on the farm. Stewardship towards land and water use will become the main value proposition of agriculture production. Food sharing again will evolve from an old legacy into a new trend. Community kitchens and culinary classrooms similar to the Good Food Hubs will be found in rural neighborhoods where young people and adults alike are engaged in food education and cooking classes.
More opportunities will be available in the rural areas. With continuous improvement of water, land use and the whole ecosystem, we will have more young people moving to work in rural areas. In our vision, the urban and rural divide in Beijing will increasingly blur and new jobs and communities will be created to allow young people to join food productions. This will also decrease traffic flows and help mitigate climate change, which in turn will improve rural livelihood and productivity.
Revitalization of the ancient Chinese medical wisdom is also made possible with a transformed food system that focuses on One Health, which the Chinese civilization described as the “Tao” – way of Life. “Foods and medicines are one” — unlike modern chemistry-based Western medicine, Chinese medicine’s reliance on herbs has always been an intrinsic part of our agricultural system. In 2050, it will have greatly enriched our food choices and possibilities for food therapy.
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?
New technology, if carrying our core values for sustainable food transformation, can provide multiple benefits — in productivity, nutrition, resilience, and improvement of the environment through better management of land, water, energy consumption, and carbon emissions.
By 2050, precise monitoring of soil quality and water use will be easily achievable with new technologies. Qualities of agricultural products will also be much easier and less costly to detect. These advances will allow us to transform our food system from one that prioritizes quantity and short-term efficiency to one that prioritizes quality and long-term interest.
Technology can also help us introduce new crop varieties that will survive in extreme conditions such as severe heat or submersion in water. Many crops can act to help mitigate climate change by reducing carbon emissions in our air and sequestering carbon into the soil. We will make the same progress in the food sector as we have achieved with energy and transportation.
We will be able to better integrate food production into urban designs and the city’s landscape with food growing in schoolyards, balconies and riversides.
New technologies will also help us monitor the welfare and health of farmed animals, already far fewer in numbers and less concentrated. This is extremely essential for human health, since by the time of writing 70% of human infectious diseases originate from animals. COVID-19 is a sad example of our problematic relationship to animals in the food space in the 2010s and 2020s.
With the advance of technology, alternative protein production will become much less costly and energy intensive as it is popularized over the next three decades. Plant-based meat will still be the main option but cellular meat technology will also make great strides. These products will not be just mimics or substitutes for animal products but nutritious foods 3D-printed from a wide range of ingredients and mostly locally sourced. Parents can choose to print such products based on age-specific nutritional needs of their children.
Upcycled packaging will become the new norm, able to be 3D-printed at markets, stores, and restaurants. Food will be served in portions that fit the diner’s need to reduce packaging and waste. With better sensors, precise waste management will continue improving and be widely adopted into homes, public kitchens, restaurants, and farms.
Advanced health-monitoring devices, both wearable and kept at home, can help individuals manage their weight and risk of disease by making recommendations for their dietary choices at each meal.
Technology will also help us better integrate an improved understanding of Chinese herbs into diets as spices, condiments, side dishes, and food supplements. We will discover new ways to naturally fertilize land to replace chemical fertilizer and animal excrements and to be used alongside compost.
The current technologies that produce ultra-processed foods from cheap mass-produced crops will be abandoned, replaced by those that make natural, diverse plant-based foods more palatable and attractive to the diner.
Packaged sodas and drinks with high added sugar will lose their popularity, and new technologies such as automatic blenders will allow easy access to whole-food drinks made from fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts in schools and public spaces.
We will have better ways to monitor our forests and seas — critical parts of our ecosystem and our greatest tools to take carbon out of the atmosphere and mitigate climate change. The information this gives us will in turn be reflected in our dietary choices in Beijing.
The advent of new technologies will also make it possible for us to monitor the nutrition and health conditions of pregnant women in Beijing and provide timely counseling and interventions to those in need, regardless of their financial conditions. This will help to avoid stunted growth and other early childhood deficiencies caused by malnutrition during pregnancy. And as Beijing will be home to one of the most aging societies in China, diet-health intervention must include new technologies to provide healthy diets to senior citizens.
With the aid of new technologies, catering for the many large-scale conferences and other events hosted in Beijing will transition from the wasteful, meat-heavy, unhealthy, and unsustainable practices of 2020 to services that are healthy, sustainable, and plant-based.
More advanced technologies will allow urban residents of Beijing to live in or near rural areas, which will change food consumption dynamics to benefit public health, lower carbon emissions, and bring vitality to the rural communities.
Policy | What types of policies are needed to enable your future food system?
First, food governance will be consolidated more than ever before. In 2020 amid the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we started to conceive of an initiative targeted at the city of Wuhan, whose poor food governance is believed to have made it “ground zero” of the pandemic. This marks the beginning of efforts to address food governance issues in Chinese cities — issues that have resulted in food safety scandals, unhealthy and unsustainable consumption patterns, and even major public health crises such as SARS and COVID-19. The unprecedented consequences of the COVID-19 crisis have mobilized political will and public support for better food governance systems, and by 2050 we will have made substantial progress.
Food governance reforms will begin in late 2020/early 2021 with the establishment of the nation’s first Food Policy Council, facilitated by us. The Food Policy Council will consist of top decision-makers and people representing various stakeholders. It will prioritize public health and sustainability, overseeing not just fragmented sectors but the entire food value chain. The council will also consolidate work from the city’s departments in health, sustainability, agriculture, education, media, commerce, and trade. The municipal Food Policy Council will be monitored by the People’s Food Councils, which we described in the earlier section on Culture. Politicians and the private sector will be held accountable to citizens for their nutrition, health, and environment.
After 30 years of hard work and improvement, food policies centered around One Health will be prevalent at all government levels in Beijing. A food governance council will be found at each level to ensure a holistic approach to food policy. Governments will implement compulsory food education schemes in schools, communities, and workplaces. Labeling will be compulsory not only for health information but for the environmental impacts of products and their ingredients. Products with higher negative impacts will be taxed.
A license on food safety, nutrition, and sustainability will be required for food service managers and executive chefs to work in Beijing in the 2050s, with the same rationale as a driver’s license or fire regulations for restaurants.
Beijing will reform current policies of investment in food production and food services. Subsidies to large, concentrated animal agriculture will end, and farmers will no longer be incentivized to use more water, land, energy, pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers to produce staple foods like rice, wheat, and maize at the cost of more nutritious or sustainable foods like vegetables and fruits. Such harmful subsidies will be gradually replaced by investment into food production that will optimize our health, environment, and economic benefits.
Policies will take into account dietary needs of senior citizens, whose numbers will increase drastically as Beijing becomes home to the nation’s most aging population. Government-aided counseling and intervention will be made available to all families expecting or raising children to ensure nutritional needs of the young are met.
This transformation of our food system will also be aided by urban design. Urbanization is a large burden on sustainability: it is estimated that by 2050 nearly two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in urban areas, not just demanding more agricultural resources but also taking up land and water that was previously used for food production. Beijing will address this problem with policies that support growth of rural livelihood and rural communities.
Municipal governments will tax unhealthy and unsustainable products and use the money to support healthier and more sustainable alternatives, as well as food education and public service announcements. Policies will be implemented to forbid harmful products such as soda, highly-processed foods, and meat-heavy meals from entering schools. New regulations will prevent public media and spaces from carrying advertisements of unhealthy and unsustainable food products.
Government dietary guidelines will include clearly-defined provisions on sustainability. Government invests heavily on disease prevention through healthy diets. As a result, healthcare spending will drop.
State subsidies, government investments, and tax and trade policies over agriculture products will be reviewed regularly on the basis of the latest evidence-based scientific research, so public resources can be distributed to optimize public health and the sustainability of our ecological system.
Describe how these 6 Themes connect with and influence one another in your food system.
Food is the single most important lever to optimize human health and the sustainability of our ecological system, as described by the 2019 EAT-Lancet Report. The issues we are facing today are multi-faceted and intertwined, and only a systematic approach will bring the needed transformation in our food.
Unsustainable practices such as factory farming, monoculture, and overfishing deepen our climate change crisis through deforestation, soil degradation, and the destruction of ocean ecosystems. Conversely, if our temperature increases by two degrees climate change will reduce the yield of many crops by as much as 30% to 50% around the globe. It will also negatively affect micronutrients in our foods such as vitamins and proteins, causing hidden hunger.
Malnutrition costs human capital and constrains human development. It is both an effect and a cause of poverty in many parts of the world. In developed regions, bad diets cause overweight, obesity, and noncommunicable diseases, which become large burdens for national health systems and economies. They also put public health at risk from antibiotic pollution and zoonotic diseases. Destroying natural habitats puts humans in direct contact with wildlife, and increases human vulnerability to pandemics.
Unsustainable farming practices have degraded rural areas, so in order to revitalize these rural communities we need to fix environmental problems, mitigate climate change, improve living conditions, and change the way we relate to food by supporting locally produced and sustainable food production.
All these shortcomings can be largely attributed to a lack of political will around the world to implement public policies that prioritize health and sustainability. Technology can be a double-edged sword — it can negatively affect health and sustainability (for instance, technologies for ultra-processed food and intensive animal farming), but it can also provide solutions to these problems (for instance, the rise of alternative protein innovations).
We need the systemic approach; We need political will and fundamental change in our priorities and values; We need transformations and innovations in policy, production, consumption, technology, and culture.
Our system approach: We announced our Good Food Pledge in 2019 to provide the first systematic guidelines in China for supporting sustainable food: 1) Plant Forward, 2) Animal Welfare, 3) Healthy Eating, 4) Reduce Waste, 5) Local Seasonal, 6) Circular Economy, 7) Preserve Biodiversity, 8) Food Education. We envision that by 2050, the Pledge, with some timely amendments along the way, will have become the core principles for food system transformation in China.
Describe any trade-offs you may have to make within your system to attain your Vision by 2050.
Trade-offs will be necessary to attain our 2050 vision. First, drastic transformation to plant-based diets means that animal agriculture will shrink dramatically and will undergo serious restructuring, including transitions to producing plant-based products. Second, there are trade-offs in the way we produce alternative protein in 2020 — signature products like the Beyond Meat and Just Eggs have been questioned for their health value and their environmental footprints, something that can be largely improved with time.
One justification given for large-scale industrial farming is its efficiency. An increase in smaller-scale regenerative farming might result in various degrees of productivity loss that require adaptations and innovations in policy, technology, economics, and culture. Reintroduction of traditional crop and animal species will increase biodiversity and resilience, preserve cultural traditions, and revitalize rural communities — productivity and rising prices might be the trade-offs such measures face.
Transforming the food system may involve political feasibility problems, as potentially effective policy interventions will interfere with citizens’ daily lives. Shifting incentives to enable effective food system transition will play a critical role in overcoming barriers to adoption and scaling. These may include market-based incentives, blended finance mechanisms, public fiscal incentives, grant capital, and non-financial incentives.
Environmental taxes may be deemed effective but still be unpopular. Various studies suggest that earmarking revenues from such taxes could mitigate this dilemma by moderating the perceived cost–benefit ratio to enhance public support. Research shows that equal per-capita transfers, earmarking revenues for environmental purposes, and transfers to low-income groups increase public support compared with allocating carbon tax revenues to general government budgets. Policy packages may also be an effective tool.
Increasing food prices to reflect the true costs of food production also makes good food less affordable to low-income families. Government programs are needed to make good, nutritious foods more accessible to all.
Should local communities or China as a whole “outsource” production of more polluting and resource-intensive agricultural products by importing them from other places? And what about the trade-off between reducing carbon footprints by producing foods locally and importing foods with higher nutrient density from regions where the soil is better? All of these require us to critically evaluate our short-term and long-term goals.
3 Years | Describe 3 key milestones that you would need to achieve within the next three years for your Vision to be on track?
In the next three years, we need to achieve the following key milestones:
1. The term “Food System Transformation” has entered the public discourse, shown by increasing appearance in government policies, books, public media, social media, and on college campuses. Academic researchers from diverse disciplines – agriculture, health, sociology, public policy, science, etc. have started to study and provide more insights into the food system. Farmers, activists, entrepreneurs, chefs, educators, and government officials are working out of their usual silos to seek innovative systemic approaches. The “Good Food Pledge” has been signed by thousands of institutions, families and individuals, and it serves as a guideline for those who want to be part of the transformation.
2. The government has adopted a consolidated system approach to food governance, symbolized by the establishment of Food Policy Councils in a number of cities across China. These councils enable the government to engage multi-stakeholders, design food policies centered around health and sustainability, and implement these policies with consolidated efforts of different government departments. A number of Chinese cities have joined global initiatives on the food system transformation, such as the C40 Good Food Cities Declaration.
3. Our first Good Food Hub has been running successfully for a couple of years and has inspired replicates in a number of Chinese cities. The Hub has become the earliest and most notable public space for citizens to participate in dialogues on the food system and celebrate good food, and it serves as a training ground for future change-makers. The Hub has also seen the establishment of the nation’s first “People’s Food Council,” a citizen-based advocacy group championing healthy and sustainable foods and safeguarding food sovereignty.
10 Years | What progress will you need to make—by 2030—that would set your Vision up to become a reality by 2050?
By 2030, we will need to make significant progress to secure public health and keep humanity within the planetary boundary. For our vision to become a reality by 2050, we envision progress in the following areas:
1. Public policy and food governance will make long strides: China’s population is expected to be surpassed by India’s in the late 2020s, and a rapidly aging society will become a reality. It will be more urgent than ever for public policies to prioritize health and sustainability for an increasingly vulnerable population. Governments will cancel most previous subsidies to animal agriculture, instead drastically increasing investments in incentives for plant-based dietary transitions, reduction of food waste, and improved farming practices. New technological innovations will also be applied to support food system transformations, and food literacy programs will be made mandatory for communities.
2. Per capita meat consumption will be reduced by 30%+ and consumption of other animal products will fall by 20%+. The number of vegetarians and vegans will grow to be roughly 15% of the population. A new plant-forward culinary culture will be established and accepted by the nation’s mainstream.
3. Systems of protein production will be transformed. With general demand for animal protein dropping, government subsidies decreasing or disappearing, stricter health and environmental regulations, and competition from a growing alternative protein industry, animal agriculture will undergo major restructuring. Half of the industry will either disappear or convert to alternative protein production.
4. Regenerative agriculture will increase significantly and win widespread public and government support.
5. Food waste will be reduced by 30%.
6. Every major city will have at least one Good Food Hubs or similar space.
If awarded the $200,000 prize what would you do with it?
We will set up China’s first Good Food Hub to serve as a plant-based lab, kitchen, studio, classroom, and archive. Ideally, the Hub will be located in a community-based food market with a space for parents and grandparents to work alongside professional chefs who showcase predominantly fresh produce from sustainable agriculture — and, when necessary, animal products from farms with the highest standards. We will invest funds in renovating the space, paying the managing team, and setting up an international chef-in-residence program.
The Hub will bring cascading effects to revolutionize public spaces in the model of the “wet market,” where food is not a commodity but a medium that connects people, ideas, and communities. Every week, a parent or team of parents will join hands with a professional chef to present a weekend dinner using sustainably-grown produce and ingredients that celebrate both traditional culinary philosophy and creativity, challenging the minds of diners on issues such as sustainable sourcing, plant-based diversity, food waste, and animal welfare. It will be:
1. a lab — where resident chefs and home cooks introduce traditional recipes and create new ones with a wide range of plant-based ingredients produced mainly by local or regional sustainable farms (in some occasions animal products from high-welfare farms).
2. a kitchen — where sustainable agriculture products are presented in the form of tasty and healthy meals offered to the city’s residents.
3. a studio — where chefs and home cooks interact with artists and designers in creating intriguing online and onsite events on food system transformation.
4. a classroom — where young chefs and home cooks learn and contribute.
5. an archive — where traditional and innovative plant-based recipes are collected, documented, and made open source for everyone in the city and beyond.
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?
Like our ancestors who were bound to their land, we are bound to this planet for a livable future. To keep humanity within the planetary boundaries by 2050, we owe future generations a commitment to healing ourselves and our environment. Change will come from fundamental shifts in our values and in our relations with other living beings. Our vision is based on the understanding that our resources are finite, a humility towards Nature, an appreciation of moderation in what we consume, and a determination to think long-term and do the right thing.
We can think of the pandemic as an “enabler,” enabling us to break from “business as usual.” We have since added a “People’s Food Council” (PFC) component to our vision, so citizens can initiate topics and engage one another in food-related discussions that are important to them. The PFC will work alongside the municipal “Food Policy Council” (FPC), which we have been developing during the pandemic.
As the world’s largest food producer and consumer, China plays a vital role. We have no time to lose. It is possible to bring about food system transformations that are timely, long-term, and sensitive to the Chinese context. We must help the greatest minds, hearts, and resources work together rather than against one another.
Please share a visual that communicates the structure and operation of your food system in 2050. Describe the visual.
National government set national policies on agriculture, environment, health, education, while the city government establish integrated food policy and provides incentives for the food system to transform. Farmers,
Business and non-profit institutions engage with community to support better production and consumption. Food Markets and the Good Food Hubs serve as powerhouse for the urban food landscape and as “Food Oasis” of the city, making sure that no food deserts exist.