Land of Plenty: How Should We Ensure that People Have the Food They Need? (NIFI Issue Guide)

The 25-page issue guide, Land of Plenty: How Should We Ensure that People Have the Food They Need?, was published June 2017 from National Issues Forums Institute and Kettering Foundation.. The issue guide offers participants three options to use during deliberation on how to address the inequities within the current food system and how to create a world where all people have the food they need to thrive. The issue guide is available to download for free on NIFI’s site here, where you can also find a post-forum questionnaire.

From NIFI…

All of us affect, and are affected by, the food system: students who grow and eat carrots and tomatoes from their school garden; farm owners who maintain patches of natural habitat for bees; immigrants who hand-pick our apples, grapes, and oranges; public employees who design food-nutrition labels and monitor food safety; restaurant workers who take our orders and serve our meals; food reporters who write about ethnic cuisine; local groups of gleaners who keep edible food out of the dumpster and put it to good use; food pantries that teach teenagers to garden on vacant lots; parents who work to stretch their food budgets to the next payday; policymakers who determine agricultural subsidies; community members who advocate for policies to ensure that all of us have the food we need.

While we have one of the most productive and efficient food systems in the world, millions of people in the US still fall between the cracks. People who may have enough to eat today worry about the availability and quality of food for future generations.

This guide explores different approaches and actions that are, or could be, taken to create a food system that works for all of us. While the approaches overlap in some respects, they do suggest different priorities and involve different trade-offs. With this in mind, what should we do to ensure that people from all walks of life have the food they need?

This issue guide placemat presents three options for deliberation:

Option 1: Improve Access to Nutritious Food
Despite our nation’s abundance of food, some people still don’t have enough to eat, which undermines their health, productivity, and overall well-being. According to this option, we need a food system that ensures everyone has a stable source of affordable, nutritious food. We must strengthen our school nutrition programs and food assistance for low-income families, as well as improve access to fresh food in rural and low-income communities.

Option 2: Pay More Attention to the Multiple Benefits of Food
We have drifted away from traditions and principles that once helped us enjoy a healthier relationship to food, according to this option. We all need to be better informed about the foods we choose, their nutritional value, and how they’re produced and processed. Rather than allowing food advertisements to determine our choices, we need to pay closer attention to what we value about our food, traditions, and well-being.

Option 3: Be Good Stewards of the Food System
We are not managing our food system as well as we should, according to this option. We must do more to safeguard the quality and availability of food for generations to come. Good stewardship is needed at every link in the food-supply chain, from the seeds we plant to the reduction of food waste. It also includes preserving our natural resources, choosing sustainable methods of production, and strengthening the food-system workforce.

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NIF-Logo2014About NIFI Issue Guides
NIFI’s Issue Guides introduce participants to several choices or approaches to consider. Rather than conforming to any single public proposal, each choice reflects widely held concerns and principles. Panels of experts review manuscripts to make sure the choices are presented accurately and fairly. By intention, Issue Guides do not identify individuals or organizations with partisan labels, such as Democratic, Republican, conservative, or liberal. The goal is to present ideas in a fresh way that encourages readers to judge them on their merit.

Follow on Twitter: @NIForums

Resource Link: www.nifi.org/en/issue-guide/land-of-plenty

The Reunited States of America

The 192-page book by Mark Gerzon, The Reunited States of America: How We Can Bridge the Partisan Divide, was published February 2016. This book is a manifesto on how to bridge the political divide in America, during a time when the political environment is deeply poisoned. Gerzon shares the experiences of 40 individuals and organizations that are already doing the work of finding common ground, and working together around challenging and divisive issues. Here you will find a toolkit to join the emerging movement towards a transpartisan political environment and help reunite the states of America.

You can find the book on Mark Gerzon’s site here and also, in physical copy or audio format from Amazon here.

Reunited_StatesFrom the book…

We Americans are solving problems and achieving positive results not despite but because of our differences. Many or our fellow citizens are living evidence of this third story. They are putting country before party. They are drawing the outlines of a new political map that connects us rather than divides us. They are forming networks and organizations that are building bridges rather than walls. They are bridging the partisan divide- in living rooms and in communities, in state legislatures and on Capitol Hill.

Story #3 does not mean agreeing on everything. Nor does it mean being “nice” or being “moderate” or “splitting the difference”. On the contrary, it may mean fighting for what one believes in- but respecting one’s adversary for doing the same. It means knowing the difference between an issue on which you are willing to listen and learn, and one where you believe you are not. Above all, it means disagreeing strongly without ever forgetting that “they” probably love America just as much as “we” do. 

The truth is, 70 to 90 of us say that we are “very patriotic”. That means almost all of us claim to love our country deeply. If we love our family, we want it to stay connected. Similarly, if we love America, we naturally want our country to be able to work through its deep and genuine difference and remain united.

This book is part of a campaign- not a Republican or Democratic campaign, but an American campaign; not a campaign for office, but a campaign for our country. It is about the people, some of whom are our neighbors, who are drawing a new political map that connects us rather than divides us. It is about our fellow citizens who are already reuniting American- in living rooms and in communities, in state legislatures and on Capitol Hill. These are, in my view, today’s real American heroes.

The book is available for purchase, both in physical and audio format, from Amazon here

About Mark Gerzon
Mark is an author, leadership expert, and veteran convener of cross-party conversations. Having worked in both the private and public sectors, both domestically and internationally, his primary current focus is having a positive, transformative impact impact on the 2016 election.

Resource Link: www.markgerzon.com/

Change for the Audacious: a doer’s guide

The 240-page book, Change for the Audacious: a doers’ guide by Steve Waddell, was published in 2016. This book explores how we must, and can do much better at addressing issues such as: climate change, food security, health, education, environmental degradation, peace-building, water, equity, corruption, and wealth creation. This book is for people working on these types of issues, with the belief that we can create a future that is not just “sustainable”, but also flourishing. This perspective means that the challenge is not just one of simple change, but of transformation – radical change in the way we perceive our world, create relationships and organize our societies. This is the implication of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and other global efforts, and also innumerable efforts locally, nationally and regionally.

Audacious_ChangeThis book approaches these challenges as large systems change issues: issues requiring engagement of many, many people and organizations often globally; issues requiring deep innovation with shifts in mindsets and power structures; and issues that require capacity to work with complexity. Large systems change is presented as a new field of practice and knowledge; the book is not about a “method” or particular “approach”; rather it provides an overview of frameworks, methods and approaches to develop capacity to use the appropriate ones in particular contexts.

After introducing concepts of transformation and complexity, the book presents five case studies of large systems change. These cases and others are referenced throughout the remainder of the book to present large systems change strategy, organizing structures, steps in developing the necessary collective action, tools, and personal guidance for change practitioners.

About Steve Waddell & NetworkingAction
Responding to the 21st century’s enormous global challenges and realizing its unsurpassed opportunities require new ways of acting and organizing. NetworkingAction is my personal vehicle to support organizational, network, and societal change and development, through consultation, education, research, and personal leadership. In particular, I focus upon intersectoral (business-government-civil society) and inter-organizational collaboration to produce innovation, enhance impact, and build new capacity. These initiatives may be local, national and/or global. The topics are varied, including water, forestry, youth, finance, economic development, and peace.

Resource Link: http://networkingaction.net/product/a-truly-path-breaking-work/

This resource was submitted by Steve Waddell, the Principal at NetworkingAction via the Add-a-Resource form.

Rethinking Complexity Blog

We live in a time of growing complexity, a time that calls for new thinking, new conversations, new ways of working together and new forms of organization that support continuous learning and innovation. Finding new ways to work within and across organizations and communities is critical to address current needs for climate change, resource use, social innovation and social justice.

Rethinking Complexity is a forum to explore these issues, examine best practices, and share critical research at the cutting edge of how organizations behave, systems change, and complexity can be managed for the good of humanity.

Rethinking Complexity BlogProduced by the Organizational Systems program of Saybrook University, Rethinking Complexity holds a system must be sustainable and support the human potential of the people it touches before it can be considered effective.

About Saybrook University
Saybrook University is the world’s premier institution for humanistic studies. It is a rigorous and unique learner-centered educational institution offering advanced degrees in psychology, mind-body medicine, organizational systems, and human science. Saybrook’s programs are deeply rooted in the humanistic tradition and a commitment to help students develop as whole people – mind, body, and spirit – in order to achieve their full potential. Experiential learning and professional training are integral components of the transformative education offered through Saybrook’s programs.

Our global community of scholars and practitioners is dedicated to advancing human potential to create a humane and sustainable world. We accomplish this by providing our students with the skills to achieve and make a difference, empowering them to pursue their passions and their life’s work. Our scholars and practitioners are creative, compassionate innovators pursuing new ways of thinking and doing for their professions, organizations, and communities.

Follow on Twitter: @SaybrookU.

Resource Link: www.saybrook.edu/rethinkingcomplexity/

This resource was submitted by Marty Jacobs, a student at Saybrook University, via the Add-a-Resource form.

Perspectives on Theory U: Insights from the Field

In recent years, the utilization of Theory U has pushed the boundaries of traditional leadership and management thinking, making it an important aspect of change across a broad assortment of international businesses and communities.

Perspectives on Theory U: Insights from the Field, edited by Olen Gunnlaugson, Charles Baron, and Mario Cayer (all of the Université Laval, Canada), brings together an existing array of research on Theory U, including specific aspects of the theory, through diverse interpretations and contexts. While exploring key theoretical concepts and outlining current approaches and blind spots, this book will act as a reference source for researchers and practitioners intending to raise awareness of the applicability of Theory U to colleagues, students, and international business leaders.

See our post on Theory U at http://ncdd.org/rc/item/2817 for more details on the theory.

Resource Link:  www.igi-global.com/book/perspectives-theory-insights-field/78265

This resource was submitted by Ann Lupold, Promotions and Communications Coordinator, IGI Global (Publisher) via the Add-a-Resource form.