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Bridging Land and Ocean Food Flows: Socio-Ecosystem health from small producer networks in Galapagos

Small scale land and sea producers, feeding healthy, sustainable and fair to the galapaguenian community.

Photo of Charles Darwin Foundation
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Charles Darwin Foundation

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.

Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands, Research Institution; Huerta Luna, Agroecology Farm/School/Community Seed Bank; Galapagos Government Council, Public Institution; Commonland, International NGO

Website of Legally Registered Entity

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

  • Just beginning now

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

Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island. Galápagos Islands

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


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

Galapagos Province in Ecuador, 4 human-inhabited islands and 2 protected areas. The human inhabited area is 258 Km2.

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

We are the Galapagos community, Galapagos is our home and we feel the need of a healthier food system that supports the conservation of our unique ecosystems. For over 60 years, the Charles Darwin Foundation has been the scientific institution committed to generating information and producing scientific knowledge to support decisions and policymaking by the authorities. Throughout the last decades, and despite robust information has been generated on the natural sciences perspective, little has been done within the dimension of the social sciences. Food sources (land and seafood) have mostly been studied as isolated resources, disconnected and not as a food system. Now we are transcending to a more comprehensive research in Galapagos that explicitly illustrates our human-nature-based relations, where the food system is our most vital one.

Huerta Luna (HL) is a farm run on land inherited from family descendants from the first settlers of Santa Cruz Island. In 2014 its family felt the need to buy organic food and support sustainable producers, nevertheless, it encountered that there were no regenerative producers on the island. It was impossible to find the origin of food available, there were no local farmer markets available, nor written records of any regenerative farm, no guidelines on agricultural practices, soil knowledge, or a local seed bank. Farmers claimed “organic” is a myth; “impossible in Galapagos.” HL was born aiming to demonstrate that smart regenerative agriculture is possible, but also to build the tools to facilitate others to practice it. HL farms regeneratively, runs an agroecology school and a local seed bank.

We, CDF and HL, see our islands as a place where to demonstrate the intrinsic interconnectedness of land and ocean, human health, and the ecosystems we aim to sustainably use. It is time where research needs to fuse with citizen’s entrepreneurship so to build the bridge that can effectively take Galapagos to sustainability.

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.

The Galapagos Islands, located 1000km off the coast of Ecuador, is an archipelago with 300 islands and islets, where only 3% of the total land area is inhabited by humans on four islands. The remaining land area is protected as the Galapagos National Park. The waters surrounding the archipelago make up the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The Galapagos is the first ever UNESCO World Heritage Site, leading to its conservation being a priority to Ecuador. In the four inhabited islands live 33,042 people, but less than a hundred years ago, it is calculated that less than 100 persons lived on each island.

A walk through an inhabited island will cross multiple climatic zones/ecosystems. At sea, highlighted turquoise waters where sharks, sea turtles and rays are a common sight. Green plantain, seafood, and rice smell decorate the days of the urban and rural Galapagos, complemented with the different finches’ beaks appearing on every step, no matter where. Further up and going through a lunar like topography, you can first find yourself through dry forests. Going higher up, there are thicker young canopies interrupted by pastures. Cooler humid air, manure smells mixed with scalesian perfume; plantain, coffee, sugarcane and corns crops in the midst of more finches, giant tortoises, and simple farmer homes.

With a population composed of national and international migrants, the local Galapagos’ gastronomy reflects a mixed cultural food tradition, many times showing locally available produce intertwined with the “globalized” food trends. Seafood could be considered the most typical meal, but optimum quality livestock and poultry are also common meal ingredients for locals. Fresh salads are scarce, as generally speaking available local produce is limited in diversity and availability. Tourism is the main economic industry on the islands. Therefore, fishing and farming are no longer attractive, at least for a great sector of young inhabitants that have chosen tourism as a more prestigious income-generating activity. Fishing and the conservation of marine ecosystems are at a constant negotiation, where consumers are increasingly gaining more prominence.

Galapagos relies on fuel to feed itself as 90% of its food is imported, as are the agricultural inputs that its conventional agriculture relies on. The large size of unutilized farming land signs opportunities to increase food security and a handful of farms are already proving so, as they align with emerging chefs who are creating new native delights with the forgotten/unknown wonders that can grow on these diverse climates.

This is a recent society, thus with an emerging cultural identity permanently influenced by migrants who come with the hope to find new opportunities for a better life, either via the income the global hotspot tourism industry offers, or by fulfilling a desire to contribute building a ‘sustainable island society.’ Its Darwin related fame attracts migrants hoping to demonstrate on these famous natural evolution lab the adaptations vital to the survival of the human species: conscious relationships within oneself, with each other, our Planet’s wildlife and its ecosystems.

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.

Environmentally, the challenges for our vision are climate change, invasive species, the widespread use of agrochemicals, and overexploitation of fishing species. Those affect negatively mainly food production. Nevertheless, it is still unknown all the impacts on the whole food system.

Culturally, the main challenges are the low awareness of conscious production, trading, and consumption of food, paired with the extremely limited availability of wholesome food options in stores, markets and by farmers. This results in unhealthy diets and health problems; Galapagos is the region with the highest obesity levels in Ecuador and whose top mortality causes are directly linked to poor diets.

Fishing is perceived as a “job for the poor” as it involves high risk and hard physical labor in exchange for low income. Hence the youth’s disinterest in pursuing fishing. Fishers are getting older and the seafood future in Galapagos threatened.

Geographically, the isolation of Galapagos makes it the most expensive province of Ecuador, whose value chain relies on external supplies. Import and transport of equipment involves high import taxes and limited shipping spaces. The intermediaries of the food value chain in Galapagos are who receive the highest profits and the participation of the small producers (land and sea) is very low. Currently, intermediaries control prices and conditions, and their main demands relate to the possibility of importing higher volumes and not of food produced with environmental and social responsibility.

Yet, despite the daunting challenges, we believe our greatest is the ineffective communication between all the stakeholders. Empathy and comprehensive understanding between all lack as diverse backgrounds, family ties, and small-town politics become real obstacles. Unhealed emotional wounds in small towns contribute to constant conflict highly restricting cooperation but also, co-creation/implementation of long-term solutions that can sustain life’s changes.

Our food system vision considers unnecessary to invest in high technology for food production because we are promoting regenerative farming and artisanal fishing as the best sustainability proven tech. Investing in high technology in Galapagos implies dealing with waste disposal issues and a lack of prepared technical support. What we look for instead, is tech solutions to bridge the communication gap between stakeholders.

All the challenges stated above refer to the year 2020. For 2050, geographic challenges (waste disposal, vulnerability to invasive species) will remain, as well as climate change, whose specific impacts we are unable to predict now. We assume that our vision can address intrinsic challenges and improve food production and consumption resulting in less overexploitation, gaps in knowledge, poor diets and unconscious intermediaries.  Communication challenges are a part of life and will remain, yet our goal is for our vision to set the space, time and techniques that can make co-creation between stakeholders resilient to personal feuds and global change.

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

Our food system vision for Galapagos is based on the development of conscious behaviors network among producers, intermediaries and consumers through a permanent flow of communication of knowledge and education. These was thinking to address the challenges previously identified.

The communication flow between stakeholders will produce new knowledge on abundances of fishing species and impacts of climate change and marine invasive species in ecosystems and food production in Galapagos. This communication flow will also enhance the perception of fishing as important job due its contributions to the culture and food security of Galapagos.

However, the main challenge that will be address is the ineffective communication between all the stakeholders of the Galapagos food system. The communication flow will have three important features: constancy, empathy and comprehensive understanding between all. To achieve this, is indispensably to heal emotional wounds.

Therefore, we expect that all the participants of our vision go through a process of self-knowledge. We will use participatory methodologies that involves tools and technics of emotional heal such as focusing/U theory/mindfulness. These methodologies have been proven its success in conscious food production.

The conscious production and consumption of our food system vision will be the spearhead to address other challenges. For example, a conscious consumption of food will improve the diets and health; we hope contribute to reduce the obesity levels of participants within the network of our vision. In addition, a conscious consumption will create demand of food produced with social and environmental responsibility; so this will create a business niche for a conscious value chain of food in Galapagos. We expect that this will be the financial sustainability of our network.

There still challenges that our vision will not address completely, such as climate change and technology. However, we are sure the communication flow of our network will figure out how to adapt the production of food (land and sea) to the impacts of climate change. There will be also creative solutions for technology issues.

 In conclusion, our food system vision of Galapagos includes a network of producers, intermediaries and consumers with conscious behavior and a permanent communication flow with empathy and comprehensive understanding between the stakeholders. All this was thinking to address the most important challenges internals of Galapagos and externals.

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.

It is instantly evident, just as the animals and the world-famous landscapes, so is the feeling of interconnectedness of its community with the ecosystems. They are aware, sucking you into this consciousness that our consumer choices determine the health of this place and oneself, motivating you to replicate them.

Through the landscape, hundreds of small producer farms populate its multiple climatic zones. Yet, it is not easy to determine where production is as it is integrated with lush forests that interconnect with the designated protected areas. Its people are aware of the importance of this corridors, because their own food is produced here, but also, the practices used strengthen the island’s ecosystem resilience.

When arriving to the seascape, also, hundreds of small producers use knowledge, gears and techniques to maintain healthy marine ecosystems with abundant diversity and riches. Fishermen act on their knowledge complimented by science, so to fish the right species at the right time on the right sites. 

The offer of conscious food is widespread, and it complements the community’s demand for food whose origin cares for the ecosystems’ integrity. Conscious demand automatically transmits to the island’s visitors, who are motivated to follow. These offer-demand dynamic funds its continuity, and is facilitated by aware intermediaries and permanent flows of knowledge and effective communication. The island’s thriving economy is based on conscious visitors of its healthy ecosystems, where human food systems strengthen its health and that of its local community.

 Land and sea healthy ecosystem food flows result in physical human health that give way to awareness of one’s emotional health. Individuals care for their spiritual, mental, physical and social health by realizing informed positive consumer choices that affect the whole system ensuring its continuity.

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

Our vision’s engine is a mass of conscious wholehearted consumers who drive a switch to economic incentives and production patterns. We all have agency power over the food system, and our vision is to enable the consciousness and understanding of the many manifestations/roots of the problem, while providing the tools to realize change, and the inspiration so the courage to act is manifested by individuals from different spheres of the community. 

Change starts with oneself:

Reason, facts, institutional acts come forth through different individuals whose personal stories, hurts, principles, and emotions deliver the ultimate outcome. A major obstacle in our community are personal feuds/hurt hearts blocking change. Our vision’s innovation is to embrace our humanity and highlight its essentiality.  Using focusing/U theory/mindfulness techniques in co-creation dialogue spaces, our vision aims to promote healing the inner-self so to develop the empathy and open-mind necessary for true collaborations to take place. We believe the level of cooperation necessary for integrated system-based solutions can’t take place if we continue to disregard the pivotal obstructing role broken spirits and violent childhoods have on our food system. Long term change needs first a change of heart when looking for solutions that also are financially sound.

Co-creation spaces:

Using the human center techniques in 2020 two main co-creation spaces operate: 1) Regenerative agriculture expansion and, 2) sustainable fisheries. These include stakeholders (science, producer, consumer, chefs, intermediaries, policy makers) discussing solutions that can financially sustain regenerative farmers and sustainable fisheries.

In 2020 they focus in:

1) Adapting/implementing menus with products that grow well in the different climatic zones of the Galapagos inhabited islands, have demonstrated successful growth without agrochemicals, bountiful production of seed and resilience to climate change.  Increasing the demand for these incentivizes more farmers to produce them, and in these spaces, organization for the collaboration of farmers is also taking place.

2) Generating an effective information system (and the information required to back it up) on the state of fisheries that steers the market’s offer and demand. The elaboration of mass reaching consumer guides which informs buyers which species needs a break, which can tolerate extraction, at what size and time-frame, etc.

 The pivotal role of chefs/customers and by communicating adequate messages concerning healthy food systems, could be done through delicious plates:

There is a saying that “scientists are from mars, policy makers are from venus,” just like John Gray’s 90’s book argues, if we aim to bridge these two planets, we need more empathy and understanding. Food is in its essence a connector of spirits, an up lifter, a sign of love hence, used in delicious dishes to communicate the science (citizen and academic) of sustainable resilience produce from land and sea, in the midst of a human center safe space is a winning combo. Chefs communicate this science, communicated to them by technology that supports organized data and enables the art necessary to communicate it effectively. This enables the conscious consumer mass to shift markets and policies.

Enabling resilient production:

In land: The agroecology school and local seed bank are providing the complement so that small producers can get trained in regenerative/resilient techniques, but also, access the seeds and support in order to meet the newly created demand. Their continuous work can be certified by the SPG (participatory guarantee system) carried out by the regenerative producer’s network. Furthermore, professional degrees are offered for those who are willing to commit three years on a permacultural training certification.

In the sea: Co-creating spaces determine, between the many stakeholders, the priority for generating fisheries information and sharing responsible fishing technics. This information and sharing are generated in cooperation between fishers and scientists.

The role of technology:

Technology supports effective eased communication and organization of the food system.

Technology for zero waste. Each cooperative and fishing association with zero waste systems. The residues generated by fishing feed the agricultural area, the residues of the land fertilize their own lands, generating circular economy between the sea and the land.

Technology for adaptive fishing and agriculture: sustainable gears and local ecological knowledge production.

 All mentioned above, will be built through a food system observatory connecting dots.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Facebook
  • Open Ideo

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

After celebration, we had a meeting in order to complete our Vision. We decided on potential partners, how to engage with them, how to use funds from the prize and established a calendar for the refinement phase. We were starting to develop it, when COVID19 hit us. That was the opportunity to learn about the strengths and weaknesses from Galapagos food system and also the opportunity to rethink ourselves, as a team. Face to face meetings became video calls, online collaboration a basic requirement and we were all able to bring our experiences and changes in our work to the vision. 

While we were researching, we noticed we were using our own proposed “Theory U” as a personal and team learning tool to adapt to the new world. By this time, frequent meetings with all partners and the community had the key point to brighten the vision in a feasible and constructive way. We became actors of our food system transformation meanwhile we were developing our vision.

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).

-Charles Darwin Foundation

-Huerta Luna 

-Galapagos Government Council (GGC)


During the refinement phase, we confirmed two critically important partners: (a) our vision to integrate marine and terrestrial food production streams, addressing sustainable development goals, and work with stakeholders towards a resilient economy was an immediate buy-in from the Galapagos Government Council; (b) our approach to develop a 20+ year vision to bring in regenerative practices and multiple stakeholders who have often forgotten parts of the system to the table to shape a system that meets everyone's needs was welcome by Commonland who have been shaping similar co-creation spaces in Holland (For Tomorrow’s Harvest). 

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 day we initiated the refinement phase, Gabriela and Jorge were attending a 3-day Theory U workshop in Galápagos (the first!) with multiple stakeholders including consultants working on updating the Galapagos 2030 Plan and the reform to the Galapagos Special Law. Noémi helped co-convene the workshop facilitated by a senior Presencing Institute faculty (birthplace of Theory U). Karina was one of the first members of the Galapagos Hub (Theory U) which started in September 2018, and now has 12 active members. We revised our strategy of mini-workshops as a result of the COVID-19 sanitary crisis and lockdown from March. 

New priorities and opportunities were emerging. We tested our community supported agriculture model with 4 farmers and 5 artisanal food initiatives to provide an average of 40 consumers weekly baskets; we reached 312 consumers and 25 fishers through an online survey of changes in fishing dynamics; and we engaged personally with 15 stakeholders from different fields. 

Jorge discussed the vision with Jerson Moreno and Mariana Vera (30s / 40s, Galapagos residents) scientists in fisheries and ecosystem restoration, Conservation International; Carlos Zapata (50s, Galapagos resident), economist and founder of FUNDAR, a local NGO and Patricia Jaramillo and Heinke Jäger (40s / 50s, Galapagos residents) scientists in ecosystem restoration, invasive species and farming practices, CDF. 

Karina had a virtual workshop with Luis, Edison, Ruth and Boris (20s -40s, Galapagos residents and non-resident) he had worked in a “zero food waste” initiative, from the Chefs partnerships. Phone meetings to feed the co-creation were held with: Monica Paez (50s, permanent resident) from the Ministry of Tourism; Leanne Kirk, Miriam Chacon and Richard Knab (50s, temporary residents), Education for Sustainability Program; Max Arias (50s, permanent resident), Galapagos Credit and Savings Cooperative; and Ana Lucia Brava (30s, from Quito), Red de Guardianes de Semillas, legal expert.

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

The sources of the Galapagos Food System are enclaves inside the Protected Areas of Galapagos. The 2015 Management Plan integrated land and sea under a unified scheme, setting the stage for integrating across protected and “non-protected” areas. For this, the National Park recognizes the need to build a vision and efficient coordination between scientists, managers, and community stakeholders. 4 NGOs are working with agriculture stewardship benefits along with increased agricultural production (currently ~600T/month for a demand of ~1200T/month). The 1998 and 2015 zoning of the marine reserve has generated conflicts. A new form of dialogue is needed so stakeholders can see and sense the system as a whole, including the blindspots which traditionally persist (institution/conservation) vs (fisherman/extraction).     

In the current Galapagos Food System, 90% of food is imported and obesity rates are highest in Ecuador. In 2016, 90% of survey respondents desired to get involved in the “movement” toward self-sufficiency they deemed possible¨: since then, 3 initiatives related to improving food consumption behaviors including healthier diets have established. At the seaside, we note the low recruitment of young people and some overexploitation (eg. sea cucumber). Nonetheless, the recovery of the spiny lobster fishery through community empowerment, market tools, and co-creation management is an example to follow. Also, fisheries data is now being recorded digitally, facilitating modeling, and forecasting.  

Before COVID-19’s hit there were three restaurants spearheading creation with regenerative local produce and a number of local gastronomy contests to influence the wider public. Following FFF’s “Protein Challenge 2040” result that 88.5% of chefs rate their colleagues' influence somewhat to very important, we can assume a positive trend is underway. 

“According to the Which?’s “Consumers Future 2030” research, consumers in 2030 will be “living in a world where slow growth, resource scarcity and rising commodity prices will have become the norm,” resulting in less money to spend in leisure. A “rehearsal” of this scenario took place in Galapagos during the COVID-19 pandemic as tourism was shut down and imports limited. 

The result was an awareness by the community of the vital role local producers have not only in keeping everyone fed, but on keeping the economy going Farmers in Galapagos have an infamous history of troubled collaboration; the pandemic’s disruption moved farmers from an Ego consciousness to an Eco one resulting in a spur of different associations between farmers, and the  Ministry of Agriculture. This Ego to Eco was reflected in fishers when various groups in different islands donated fish to vulnerable households. 

An important sign to observe during the pandemic is old conflicts fading as decision-makers became more aware of the importance of fishers, and the community recognizing them as vital to their livelihoods. 

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.).

Kaya awoke with the rain, usually a calming sound, in March, makes her feel uneasy. Rushing outside, she’s relieved to find healthy plants due to drainage trenches doing their job.

 Back at home her son asks for forest mushrooms, she nods and grabs her GAID (Galapagos Aggregated Information Device-see response 16) so she can get ahead some work while harvesting them. She turns on the ball-like device and a series of graphs and figures tell her that jicama (an edible root) needs to get off to the soil now to avoid rotting. She knows tuna fish would be a perfect complement...but as she uses her GAID to confirm... the recommended fishery is still lisa. Not her favorite.

 At the restaurant, Ari, her suis chef, teases her: “Lisa again? You know, we could go vegetarian!” Kaya sighs, “we’ve done well under our protein quota, but we do need some variety.” Using his GAID, Ari orders tamarind and almonds from a nearby urban garden. Within an hour, they arrive by bike, just as the Aggregated Commercialization Electric Cart delivers fish and produce from the highlands.

 “Oh my! With the almond infusion, this fish is superb!” Claims a regular. Kaya smiles; she finally nailed the recipe for Lisa, but she still and other fisheries open up soon.

“Mmm Kaya! And to think this was so rare!” Claims Ari as they dine; he is right, growing up this dish though completely local was nonexistent. “Remember tomorrow is the ocean hub prototype meeting for adapting to the rains,” he reminds her. It’s 11 PM on her solar e-bike watch, as she easily pedals uphill through the protected area, urban then rural crops of different climatic zones, she remembers her mother and how the hubs she co-founded with scientist, fishers, producers, and politicians have made it possible for her to live in a healthier island, and, despite the summers been less predictable, co-create solutions with the community as she adapts. Lisa is not so bad after all.

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

The land and sea interactions in Galapagos play a predominant role in controlling the climate, an important reason for integrating land and seafood streams in our 2050 food system vision and building resilience within them. Climate change in Galapagos is expected to affect the intensity of rainfall, drought and high sea temperature during the hot season and perhaps change the length and onset of the cool season; in both cases with impacts in the sea and on land. The existing seasonality and impacts of extreme events such as "El Niño" and "La Niña", have led to farmers and fishers holding a high level of traditional ecological knowledge. Recent scientific efforts of monitoring offer quantitative data which can complement the traditional knowledge, yet the re-integration of this knowledge within the food supply and in the relationship with the communities is what the proposal aims to do. 

On the land-based side, in Galapagos, you can find dry, transitional and humid climates with different temperatures and rainfall patterns. The fertile volcanic soils offer an opportunity to take advantage of these climatic conditions to produce varied and abundant food supply. Conservation agreements with farmers will be enhanced to allow them to reforest the areas that protect soil erosion, favor groundwater recharge and maintain soil moisture, all essential climate-change resilient practices for the locality.

Innovation will be needed to ensure that the best solutions for rainwater harvesting are implemented, including fogwater during the cool season; many good examples exist from coastal desertic regions. Within the food system, an opportunity exists to close loops where by-products of one activity can serve as an input for another activity. One particular example, that fish scraps can be turned into chicken feed and chicken poop can be turned into compost. Huerta Luna has identified varieties of edible plants present in the islands, best adapted to the different microclimates, as well as shown resilience during periods of drought or excessive rain. 

A seed bank of these species and a nascent network of seed guardians has already begun. Finally, Huerta Luna has worked with chefs in order to begin menu planning with plants that have demonstrated resilience, as well as educating consumers of how eating these species supports regenerative agriculture, human health and ecosystem conservation. These initiatives continue to grow in complement to environmental place-based education and sustainable tourism. 

On the sea side, in Galapagos you can find cold water, temperate and tropical species, and coastal species as well as pelagic ones of commercial interest. CDF has started co-creation spaces documenting fishers' knowledge on changes in fish abundance, fishing activity, marketing, and wellbeing in relation to climate change, as well as their proposals for adaptation actions. The main conclusion is that the fishers feel very worried about climate change but are not ready to face it. The fishers propose to improve the collaboration with scientists and the government in order to have an adaptation plan for fisheries, which co-creation spaces on our vision address. 

Currently, the fishing effort is mostly dictated by fishing regulations, and also by sea conditions (during June to December there are more winds and agitated seas). The Food System we envisage will ensure that the market is ready for the produce which will return from the fishing effort, offer and demand can be met in a way which safeguards the livelihoods of the fishers and provides the needed demand within the sustainability parameters of the Galapagos Marine Reserve, the zoning and the fisheries calendar. Our food vision builds on these experiences to ensure that future zoning and fishing calendar efforts will have full participation and support of the fishing sector and the community in a way that climate change and resiliency can be factored in.

At the end, the food system of Galapagos will be resilient to climate change, and other threats, throughout its socio-ecosystem. This means that the modes of production allow the environment to regenerate so that it continues to provide us with food. In the case of land, we will be respecting the regeneration of soil and water, while in the sea, the regeneration of fish and invertebrate populations. Regenerative also involves having climate-resilient food production systems: in land, basing production in adapted plant species, and holding community seed banks to further identify adapted plant species or adapt over time by selection. At sea, fishing activities based on knowledge of the state of each fishery and adapting accordingly. Conscious consumers financially support the maintenance of these modes of production by adapting their diets to adapted plant species and recommended fisheries. It will be a whole resilient circle with adaptation actions.

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

Our approach looks at diets as the result of an intricate set of relationships, founded on healthy soils and oceans, that translate into amazing flavor. This flavor is not defined by trends or habits, or by chefs “cherry picking” his or her favorite ingredients. Rather it is flavor based on heathy ecosystems and forward-thinking farmers and fishers on the front lines of production and conservation.

Stories about cows from Dan Barber’s “The Third Plate” help illustrate this point. When Dan was growing up, the neighbor’s cows regularly broke through the fence along his grandmother’s property to eat the grass on her farm. Every morning they rebuilt the fence, only to find it broken the next day. The neighbor couldn’t understand why his cows were attracted to Dan’s grandmother’s grass as opposed to the feed he gave them. 

Regardless of how much food he “put on their plates,” the cows kept looking for food on the other side of the fence. Years later, Dan found the answer in Dr. William Albrecht’s 1930s work, which explained, cows grazing from well-mineralized soils ate a balanced diet. But when fed a predetermined grain ration, they never stopped eating, overindulging in a vain attempt to make up with volume for what they weren’t getting in food.”

Similarly, “if we humans have this same basic tendency…whenever our food choices are limited, we may well consume more of some nutrients than we need in an attempt to get enough of others to meet our basic nutritional requirements…the lack of a few essential nutrients in our diets might leave [us hungry] even though we have consumed far more calories than is consistent with good health.”

By 2050 we will no longer need to search beyond the fence (imports), nor will we overeat, unaware that our bodies are trying to fulfill a nutritional need as they do in 2020, when the only convenient options are highly-processed foods, and/or nutrient-deficient produce from conventional agriculture. Humans are attracted to flavor as our bodies seek the nutrients they need, and flavor is an indicator that those nutrients are present. Hence, the best flavor comes from phytonutrients that a healthy plant produces when they are fed from a healthy system of microorganisms, bugs, fungi, and other components of healthy soils. Moreover, locally available nutrients from healthy soils are what our bodies, under Galapagos climate conditions, need. No conventional agriculture can ever attain this level of flavor.

We envision an army of talented, flavor-seeking chefs on the front lines, creating delicious meals with the local regenerative produce. Educated consumers and entrepreneurs (including the tourism industry) create the demand necessary to sustain regenerative farmers and fishers, who, in turn, are returning to the soil and sea the nutrients/elements they harvest. It is a system of circular interactions and networks that offer highly nutritious, flavorful foods to vendors, convenient stores, restaurants, and homes. Nutrition rich foods become inescapable and a hallmark of Galapagos, whereas in 2020 they are a scarcity.

It is important to recognize that the vision we describe is impossible in the absence of a large-scale movement of individuals willing to become play actives role in a healthy food system by consciously exerting their influence as consumers. This is why our vision calls for the  establishment of two co-creation hubs (sea and land) to provide the space and time people need to think about and learn ways to better understand one’s self and to better relate to our community and, ultimately, our ecosystems. In 2050, these hubs will be vibrant motors of sustained change that started in 2020. If individuals are motivated to become healthier, become aware of their individual power to contribute to healthier communities and ecosystems, and they are provided with a space and time to begin acting on their increased understanding and new ideas, change will become a chain reaction.

Our system addresses malnutrition in all its forms by attending to the health of our relationships, starting with starting with our self-understanding and then extending to our relationships with our peers, environment (land and sea) and our food: (a) making flavor-splendid highly nutritious regenerative produce from land and sea readily abundant, accessible, affordable (needing less to generate more nutritional value); (b) weaving in education, health and self-knowledge to increase co-responsibility and reciprocity; and (c) adding technology to make it effortless to combine, use and adapt these ingredients into meaningful meals. Our system in 2050 assumes this “change of heart” has occurred in a critical mass of “enlightened consumers and stakeholders,” led by chefs, entrepreneurs and a commercialization network that can make nutritious food widely accessible.

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?

We combine three lessons learned from the COVID crisis, and the 4-Returns Model to transform the identified losses that the current system generates, and build a process to shift these into beneficial returns. We will be applying these principles to seascapes and artisanal fisheries for the first time. Three important lessons emerged from COVID crisis: (1) Food generation and distribution continued throughout lock-down (as did healthcare and waste management); (2) At home, families faced tremendous challenges, but also found time to reconnect; (3) The existing biosecurity measures of Galapagos helped minimize the impact of the virus in the islands. Identified losses in current land and sea food production include: (a) aging workforce; (b) few added-value product chains; (c) resource depletion; (d) reduced contribution to overall local economy and resilience. How this translates into the four returns: 

1.- Inspiration. During the crisis, families in the urban setting were able to look up to the green highlands and out to the blue sea, from there would come fresh produce and protein; and in the home reconnecting with gratitude around the meals prepared.

2.- Social Capital. Around the world, youth are going back to the land, where the integration of new technology with traditional knowledge is giving a new edge and a new meaning to work in primary productivity. At sea, with new opportunities, the family connection can be valued once more. 

3.- Natural Capital. Galápagos is unique in its co-habitation of protected areas and regenerative practices both on land and sea. Biosecurity measures benefit all. 

4.- Financial Capital. Bringing co-responsibility back into the producer-consumer relationship is the first step to ensuring sustainability. 

In 2050, living-wage conditions for agricultural production is achieved through the broadening of the community-supported agriculture concept, to include schools, restaurants and the tourism sector. Jobs in the sector continue to be held equally between men and women, with different family members having different roles. This is an important balance where the strength of each individual can be harvested to build resilient and regenerative production. In the fishing sector, most of the “out at sea” jobs are predominantly held by men, while women are more active in the direct commercialization. 

Both with agricultural production and fishing, women often led the initiatives in generating added-value products. Trust and commitment to continual quality improvement is key to entrepreneurial success. The co-creation spaces of our food system will be vital to support these initiatives through their different phases. The need for young people with fine tuned business, technology, and commercialization best practices to initiate new production lines towards the end of the value chain will come with investments and will create job opportunities. 

Securing the market for these products in the local community, the tourism sector, and even beyond the islands themselves is a complementary path to reducing dependency from imports and making the islands more self-sufficient and a positive feedback loop. The high levels of biosecurity control for the protection of the Galapagos flora and fauna, both terrestrial and marine, generates a big advantage for the resilience of the productive activities and in generating a brand of confidence for the outside world (for example, Galapagos is declared “free of foot and mouth disease” in cattle). 

The jobs of the future food system 2050 will include farmers, fishermen, entrepreneurs, consultants, distributors, chefs, scientists, ecological stewards, and artisans. The proposal will be inclusive of the smallholder farms and focusing on this as the viable model in the islands. Slopes, rockiness of the soil, shallowness of soil, do not make high-investment intensive agriculture a viable alternative. 

Similarly in the Galapagos Marine Reserve, only artisanal fishing is permitted. Our vision sheds more light on the bountiful and qualitative nature of the Galapagos environment, for nature-based tourism and for wellbeing through access to a wide variety of local produce. The added-value product chain is essential in order to guarantee that all the production is always accounted for either sold directly to consumers or transformed into an added-value product which can be solved progressively throughout the year; that way, the Fishermans’ catch or the farmers’ production is not solely dependent on local or tourism consumption, but can be transformed into smoked fish for example or canned pineapple and generate distributed income. Galapagos has a regenerative economy. 

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

Unlike many other places in the Pacific, there never was a “native” population on the Galapagos, famed for the endemic fauna and flora. Discovered in 1535, human settlement attempts started in 1832 when the islands were annexed by Ecuador, and shortly thereafter Charles Darwin visited in 1835. The Galapagos community today is a kaleidoscope: from the few descendents of the early settlers of the late 1890s, to the european settlers of the 1920s and 30s, to the wave of Ecuadorian rural settlers in the 50s and 60s, to the opening up of the scientific research and tourism industry in the 1980s, bringing both Ecuadorian and international settlers, the fishing wars of the 1990s, then the Galápagos Special Law (1998) and further migration from different parts of Ecuador. 

What is the Galápagos identity? What is the Galápagos culture? How does it develop, how does it become one with the place? Food yesterday, food today, food in 2050, a narrative under construction. We collectively choose to build our songline to the land, harnessing our diversity to generate resilience and a connection between our diets and our biodiversity. Early visitors, XVI to XVIIIth century pirates and whalers, feasted on giant tortoise meat as their preferred delicacy. When international attention was brought forward for the conservation of the islands (1905-1906 California of Sciences Expedition and 1959 creation of Galapagos National Park and Charles Darwin Foundation under auspices of IUCN and UNESCO), it was motivated to save the remaining species of tortoises. 

Early settlers also ate tortoise meat, red sally light foot crabs, finches, iguana along with all the sea creatures including marine turtles. These cultural habits linked to a time of “survival” changed with the creation of the Galapagos National Park and migration from the highlands of Ecuador which generated a labor force for the productive highlands of the inhabited islands. Exports from the islands to the mainland included cattle and salted grouper. 

The tourism, economic growth and greater connectivity led to greater imports of produce from the mainland and marginalization of traditional agriculture and fishing habits and especially a detachment from local produce. A diet of potatoes and rice (all imported) and an appetite for shrimp and calamari (also imported). And few ways to differentiate a local tomato, from a local organic tomato, from an imported tomato. The table is set for a new chapter in the role of food in the development of Galapagos Culture and connection to sense of place. The citrus festival celebrates the rich crops of the highlands, and the lobster festival, the bounty of the sea. The Galapagos coffee is recognized worldwide for its unique qualities. 

During the celebrations of San Cristobal, fishermen come back from the sea and have a big cook-out with the community. And before Easter, the smell of salted grouper still fills the air. More tourism companies are looking at locally sourced foods, aware of the rich variety that is grown locally both in fruit, and vegetables, meats and fish, and some processed foods. The land and sea hold many secrets still, which make for rich and unique Galapaguenian versions of traditional Ecuadorian dishes from the Amazon, the Andes and the Coast.

Our vision focuses on establishing physical spaces “hubs” and taking the time to weave into the culture the encounters, where traditional boundaries are taken down and people from different sectors and backgrounds can connect to one another. Connect to share the knowledge they hold of the place they live, bring the knowledge from the places where their ancestors lived, listen to what wants to emerge, and forge a new way forward, through small incremental steps that build trust and reciprocity. 

By 2050, we envision the polarization of conservation versus development to have taken a backstage, with local food networks being the stewards of maintaining an ecological balance. Greater community buy-in will shift attention from export-only activities to locally support produce and derived added-value products. Mistakes from the past will not be repeated, where entrepreneurial women did not have the needed support, to ensure a long-term viability of their high-quality products (fruit pulp, marmalades, smoked fish). 

Many more products with Galapagos denomination of origin will be available on the local market. The pride associated with valuing what is produced locally will have a positive feedback loop to restrict imports from outside without it depending on policy, youth will be healthier and learn better, people can spend more on food and less on health. Generalized access to information will make sure everyone is co-responsable and a co-actor in creating the next chapter of the Galapagos culture, one where they proactively adapt to what is available and is being produced under changing environmental conditions. They will have a songline and they will continue writing it.

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?

Our vision conceptualizes technology as “a set of theories and techniques that allow the practical use of scientific knowledge”. Such we include not only high-tech devices, machines, informatics, or communications, but also local ecological knowledge from fishers and farmers, seed banks, traditional techniques of food production, among others. The following answer focuses on what high-tech advances our vision needs.

Galapagos' isolated condition has meant that the technology (high-tech) is not the most up-to-date with respect to the world average, and often slower with very little local technical support capacity, and waste disposal serious challenges. Yet, despite the shortcomings, locals have made the best of the technology available. For example, a system has been designed where Galapagos naturalist guides can make reports online, even without the presence of the internet. Also, the fisheries monitoring system of the Galapagos National Park Directorate has been automated with tablets and a platform for storage and synthesis of data, despite very slow connections.

In this context, our vision will make the most of all available technology and bring new ones to Galapagos. We will take advantage that Galapagos has the highest % in Ecuador of use of mobile devices, internet, and computers. One of the expected results from the co-creation spaces that our vision proposes are prototypes for use of technology to support regenerative food production, achieve zero food waste, improve communication within the food system network, knowledge sharing among stakeholders, monitoring of the Galapagos food system, among others. 

We envision a technology that helps make regenerative production easier, more precise, more accessible and capable of achieving zero waste. For example, having on board fishing vessels devices and applications to find fish and lobsters that have already reproduced and can be caught without damaging their populations; or an app that informs the fisher if he/she is near a fish breeding area and fishes in another area. Another example is for farmers to have drones and app where they can see important indicators for their crops such as weather forecasts, soil health, invasive species in real time etc. 

Our vision will disseminate technologies for the use of waste and promote the circular economy, such as energy biogenerators or biofertilizers. On this side of food production, the use of high-tech will motivate young generations to become regenerative farmers or fishers; this will help mitigate the problem of lack of farmers and aging fishers that currently exists in Galapagos.

With the COVID-19 emergency, chat groups in Galapagos have worked well for members of food producer groups to communicate between themselves. At the beginning of our vision, this option will be the most viable, however as the network grows within the Galapagos food system it will need to combine chat group platforms, teleconferencing and intranet.

We have also envisioned an app for consumers to be aware about the availability of healthy food in Galapagos. Technologically, this prototype will require an internet connection, a mobile device and an application (programming). Currently, the connection and devices are available in Galapagos, our vision will co-create the app that provides complete food information to the consumer in a friendly way.

Our vision also contemplates a technological platform for the capture, storage and synthesis of information from the Galapagos food system.This platform will concentrate the food knowledge (environment, production, distribution, commercialization, consumption, etc) that the network is generating. It will have a person or technical group to manage and ensure its proper functioning. It will be open to the public through a web page that can display this information through dashboards. Our model to follow is the current Galapagos Tourism Observatory ( Currently there is the technology necessary to develop this platform, our food system will have expert staff for its design, programming and maintenance.

Our vision will take advantage of upcoming technology for our vision, such as VR, internet for everyone, Coffee Power and solar transport. New technology example is the Galapagos Aggregated Information Device (GAID) mentioned on the futurecasting question 5. The innovation we are proposing is to make maximum use of existing technology on the islands through conscious co-creation. This is something that has not been done before for the Galapagos food system.

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

To make our vision a reality, it is necessary to enable national and local policies. Galapagos has a special regime and a special Law that prioritizes conservation of nature. This means that Galapagos has its own regulations, sometimes different from those of the rest of the country. It also means that decision making is often done at the local level, without external interference. Our vision will establish spaces and times of co-creation to articulate both local and national policies.

The first scale of co-creation will be between peers. It is essential that among fishers, as well as among farmers, there are agreements on what policies are needed to boost regenerative production in Galapagos. Today in Galapagos the concept of regenerative production differs between producers because it comes from different sources, such as regulations, food certifications, own experiences, among others. It is important that producers have a common vision and definition about what regenerative production is and what policies are needed to achieve it, in order to be propositional when dialoguing in another scale of co-creation spaces

The next scale will be spaces for co-creation between different members of the food value chain, including civil society and academia to inform, provide feedback, revise feasibility, test and reach agreements on public policy. Here it is expected that these members of the value chain enter in the co-creation space with common visions and previously agreed policy proposals. In this way, it will be possible to have common visions and public policy proposals among the food value chain in Galapagos.

There will also be a space for government agencies to co-create coordination between them to promote a regenerative food system in Galapagos. Ecuador has magnificent contents in the Constitution and laws that provide rights to nature and commitment to “bioagriculture only in the Galapagos Islands”, but there is a divide between policy and action and a lack of common vision between government agencies. It is recognized by the Galapagos National Park Directorate in its current Management Plan as the core reason why conservation goals have not been met: “The existing isolation between different entities and the confusing lack of a comprehensive vision in the management of the territory results in an obstacle to the consolidation of Good Living in Galapagos”. The co-creation spaces for government officers that our vision proposes, will address the policy-action gap and lack of government common vision.

Finally, on the next scale there will be a dialogue between stakeholders and the government to achieve the necessary policies to strengthen the regenerative food system in Galapagos. This will change the stakeholder-government relation scheme that can allow policy and systems thinking to transcend into realities. Our vision will change the political processes from top-down to bottom-up.

Specifically, our vision proposes that national and local policies have the common objective of promoting the production, marketing and regenerative consumption of food. At the national level, our goal is to have a differentiated policy between agro-industry and regenerative producers, in order to provide legal certainty to the food regenerative activities, such as creation of community seed banks and protection from the use of chemicals on regenerative farms. 

Also, it is important to have stringent control on the provision chains from mainland Ecuador, so that products that cannot be grown locally in sufficient quantity, such as potatoes, come from specifically certified farms on mainland Ecuador. At the local level, our food system vision will be included in the Galapagos Law (currently under revision). We will take advantage of the fact that this Law prioritizes nature conservation, therefore proposing a regenerative food production policies contributes to the conservation of marine and terrestrial ecosystems (e.g. regenerative agriculture is able to control invasive species, soil regeneration, water conservation). 

This policy will allow the coordination of other food policies among different local government agencies. This coordination will be reflected in the strategic and management plans of these agencies. We expect that our food system vision is included in: Strategic plan of the Galapagos Government Council (Galapagos Plan, currently under participant construction using Theory U), Management Plan of the Protected Areas of Galapagos, General Plan for Development and Territory Management (each municipality must have one), the strategic plan of the local directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and the strategic plan of the Biosecurity Agency of Galapagos. For both, national and local level, there will be policies to achieve zero food waste and establish financial tools (e.g. preferential taxes and credits) to promote regenerative food ventures along the value chain in Galapagos.

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

Our vision is based from an evolving human consciousness viewpoint, where, in order to create profound long-term change in the system, one first needs to tend our individual interior condition as a human being: a personal healing and awakening must take place in order to achieve trust and deep understanding between stakeholders, that can then sustain co-creation within the food system. Our vision creates the space and time for this healing-empathy-creation to take place and uses Theory U and 4 Returns as frameworks. This initial intervention on the theme of Culture will then trigger a series of responses affecting all the stakeholders and levels of our food system.

Culture is the primary intervention theme as we seek to avoid intervening in what Theory U describes as “the tip of the iceberg.” This means focus on solutions directed at what we see (natural/social/economic divides), or what is immediately below (paradigms, structures) but overlooking further underwater to the source unseen from the surface: our individual conscience, fears, and unresolved inner problems that do not allow us to relate better to ourselves, our neighbors, or our ecosystems.

We envision a change of culture in the way we relate to ourselves, to others and to nature, challenging paradigms of “human vs. nature” and “pristine areas without human presence”, but respecting Galapagos as a recently settled community with a high diversity of people thanks to migration (see question 9). Once this culture change is ignited among the first group of stakeholders, they will focus on co-creating prototypes to tackle adapting diets to increased supply of local resilient ingredients from regenerative fishing and farming practices. 

Prototypes will achieve a circular interaction of conscious demand with conscious co-creation, which will in turn feed the human and financial capital so regenerative farming and fishing can endure and regenerate land and ocean resources in the long term. This will then activate a conscious economy with an increased demand for healthy food, higher incomes for regenerative producers, and less costs for human health. 

An economy based on healthy conscious decisions and co-creation spaces will flow so that politicians could avoid top-down processes and co-create with stakeholders public policy to promote regulations and value chains of healthy food and ease the way for entrepreneurs to create. Conflict will have space and time to be resolved as stakeholders will have a common vision and are participants in a space safe to be human, to heal.

This interconnected healthy economy and co-creation will use technology for the prototypes development, to monitor the food system, as well as to ease the share of knowledge among all stakeholders. The result: healthy marine and land ecosystems, which are the main source of healthy food and inspiration to a healing community. To sum up, the healing culture is the heart of the vision and the healthy economy is the engine.

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

Intervening in Culture may take longer to see results, but this is offset by the possibility of more profound and long-term positive change in the Galapagos food system. With a Galapagos National Park publicly stating its significant shortcomings conserving ecosystems stem from a lack of trust and effective communication among stakeholders we realize that a new approach is needed where systemic thinking reaches the source. The source is at the individual level: the interior conditions from which each of us operates, our intentions, our wounds preventing us to trust and/or empathize.

We see two main challenges in our intervention. First, our approach at the individual level may be met with resistance among stakeholders as it introduces new concepts, such "theory U" and "4 Returns" dynamics and tools that are not frequently used in the professional arena (i.e. mindfulness and exercises of co-sensing, silence, and deep listening). This could lead to the second challenge, the requirement of longer periods of time to effect profound changes at the Archipelago’s level. The expansion of our vision to all the islands will take longer. We expect to have a small conscious food network on one island in the first three years of our vision and expand it to the Archipelago by the tenth.

We are aware of and willing to meet these challenges: no vision can be attained in the absence of trust and deep understanding, nor if initiatives keep competing against each other. Changes in diets, economy, production, and the environment are desperately needed, and interventions directly on them may see positive changes sooner, but we predict they would be ephemeral, not sustained as soon as funding is over and vulnerable to changes in leaders. 

By intervening in Culture there would be a change from the bottom-up, while by intervening in any other Themes the change would be top-down. top-down decisions in Galapagos have a history of conflict and not long term change, as it’s the case with farmers who, over 50 years have had a history of top-down efforts attempting to bring them together; all falling after funding ended or governments changed. 

Culture is a blind force that acts upon all of us, it is a strong and long term. We believe COVID-19 has plowed the field for cultural evolution seeking health, such as solidarity, more organization, and use of technology between food producers, chefs, restaurants, and consumers. COVID-19 creates momentum for a bottom-up process to change the Galapagos food system. We are willing to take the risk and meet the resistance and time challenges in order to realize the deep changes that allow the permanence of our vision in the long term.

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

The vision will be on track considering 3 milestones: 

1.- A continued commitment of a full team to ensure the engagement of at least seven sectors (agriculture, fisheries, government, science, chefs, education, tourism) in the food network. In order to guarantee the development of the food network we will need a team to run it. 

Therefore there will be 5 active members on charge: 2 people from Charles Darwin Foundation, 1 person for Huerta Luna, 1 persona from Galapagos Governing Council and 1 manager for the project Land & Ocean food flows.

- 5 members of a team to run the project (4 part-time/ 1 full-time)

2.- Co-creation hubs implemented

Considering our theory of change, “Hubs” are conceived as a space and time for co-creation between stakeholders: fishers, farmers, local authorities, scientists, consumers, chefs, entrepreneurs, tourism sector, youth, educators, local financial entities. By the 3rd year we will have:.

- Implemented 7 Theory U workshops: kick-off meeting and 2 workshops per year

- These will have led to the establishment of 2 co-creation hubs: One Hub for Ocean & One Hub for Land

- and the identification of 7  prototypes, of which two are being implemented and tested on the ground. 

3.- Secure financial resources to keep the process going for the next seven years

During the first three years, the food system will be in the process of consolidation and have examples of success, our community on one island will be strongly engaged and will actively participate in the co-creation hubs. These conditions will attract more funding from philanthropy, governments and value chain ventures to ensure the sustainability of the regenerative food system in Galapagos.

- Funding of at least US$130,000 per year.

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, the dichotomy between the “human areas” and “the protected areas” is no longer at the forefront of the U-processes in the co-creation spaces. Healing, empathy, creation, and a sense of inspiration is returning to the community. The COVID-crisis set the scene for local food production to be this unifying element of the community in the long-term. 

Supporting this shift is a centralized data and information management platform (started as a prototype) where updated data on climate, soil, water, and sea conditions are uploaded, analyzed, and resulting information about the Galapagos Food System are displayed and made accessible to the government institutions and to the public. All the hard work feels like it is finally paying off and progress is on a good course when you see indicators such as marine species currently showing signs of overexploitation (sea cucumber, grouper, brujo) are recovering. 

On land, regenerative agriculture expanded over diverse microclimates has effectively shown to improve soil health; control the spread of invasive species; and support water management at a watershed scale. This return of natural capital supports financial capital. Consumers are engaged with resilient local production, a clear trend, 75% of fresh food is locally produced; which has led to an increase in health indicators and new prototypes are emerging, for example with the education sector. Students graduating from high school in the agricultural professionalization have work opportunities and/or are pursuing higher studies with the aim to return to a growing economic sector for the Islands. 

Fishers are proud and social cohesion is increasing in the fisheries sector, with renewed youth employment. Finally, by 2030, policies for regenerative farming and fisheries are approved and all scales of co-creation spaces are implemented (see question 10). The common visions and policies are incorporated in the Galapagos Plan for 2030-2050.

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

The money will be used as a catalyst to encourage more participants to the Galapagos conscious food network, as well as to attract more donations and investments. The awarded prize will be used to fund activities to achieve the milestones of the first two years of our vision in order to demonstrate the success of the Galapagos conscious food network.

In the first year, we will allocate US$36,000 to pay salaries for three people to establish connections and engagements to create the Galapagos conscious food network. US$18,000 for U Theory/4 Returns training and meetings for the installation of the co-creation hubs. US$6,000 for communication materials for the creation of the network. US$10,000 for administration costs. The total allocation for this year will be US$70,000.

In the second year, we will continue to pay the salaries of three people for the consolidation of the Galapagos conscious food network (US$36,000), the continuity of the co-creation hubs (US$18,000), communication for the consolidation of the network (US$6,000) and administration costs (US$10,000). Additionally, we will allocate US$26,000 to develop, at least, one seafood prototype and the same amount for, at least, one land food prototype. We are going to set aside US$8,000 as a contingency to deal with any unforeseen events. The total allocation for this year will be US$130,000.

All funds remaining at the end of the second year will be used under agreements within the Galapagos conscious food network.

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?

We want to demonstrate that a new way of relating to ourselves, to others and to nature is possible, one that allows us to have common visions, to co-create solutions and to have a resilient food system. We want to be an example and show the path for a transformation of the Ego consciousness to an Eco one.

We want the world to see how to put Theory U into practice within a food-system. There will be examples of how to build a common intention, observe and listen, find and connect with our inner knowledge, co-create, and finally co-evolve. Our vision will be an example of how change begins within.

We want the world to know that it is possible to practice Theory U with a balance between people, nature, inspiration, and financial capital. Our vision will combine Theory U with the 4 returns philosophy to achieve a positive and permanent change in the Galapagos food system.

We want to show that all this is also possible within an iconic and at the same time fragile place for the world like Galapagos. Our vision will achieve a resilient food system that is capable of addressing global threats such as climate change by working with nature, rather than against it.

In short, we want the world to know that a better world is possible through new ways of relating. We want more people in the world not to be afraid of new thoughts, practices, and ways, to embrace the great diversity within themselves, in their community, and in nature to live in a world of well-b

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

Our 2050 Galapagos Food System Vision consists of a regenerative-conscious network that bridges the ocean and land environment, through an interconnected and supported network of producers, entrepreneurs, chefs, consumers, tourists, educators, financial institutions, public servants and scientists. Stakeholders are connected in a long-term process through effective communication, diversity of knowledge, learning/education, and recognizing their source of wealth and wellbeing.


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Photo of Mark E Capron

Dear Charles Darwin Foundation,
Please consider participating in the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). Have the Decade's planning address your fishers’ concerns and plans for collaboration. “… the fishers feel very worried about climate change but are not ready to face it. The fishers propose to improve the collaboration with scientists and the government in order to have an adaptation plan for fisheries, which co-creation spaces on our vision address.”
One easy way to get your fishers’ preferences into the Decade’s planning: reply to “Creating a survey” posting at: Later, when the survey is running, ask your 25 fishers to make their voices heard by taking the survey.

Would you like the MSWord draft of the survey in advance of replying on the UNESCO site?

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