Food Systems Design Lab

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How can our food systems be redesigned to value social, economic, and environmental justice?

The food system is the world’s largest industry, with over one billion people engaged in the production, transportation, processing, and preparation of food every day. The resources required to sustain this system are vast: food production consumes over 50% of the planet’s habitable land surface and 70% of its freshwater, and is one of the top contributors to ever-increasing emissions. Ecologically, economically, culturally, politically, and historically, food shapes the world around us. 

The current state of our globalized food system is strikingly fragile, built on an unsustainable base of industrial-scale monoculture and fueled by systemic injustice and environmental degradation. Optimized to value efficiency and profit, the infrastructure built to support the production and consumption of food manufactures scarcity and manipulates surplus at a global scale. Meanwhile, our daily habits of consumption are disassociated from the meaning of what and how we eat. As climate change accelerates, a radical re-designing of the system and the infrastructure that sustains it is necessary. 

The Food System Design Lab applies design thinking to the reconstruction of regional, equitable, and self-determined food systems that nourish the people and places that depend on them. Our hope is to design and build the slow food movement of architecture. We do so by connecting with leaders who are visionary and innovative in their fields, supporting their missions through design services, and unlocking funding for implementation. 

Our theory of change requires reconnecting fragmented parts of the food system using architecture and design through the following broad areas of focus:

  1. Farmer and conservation agriculture training 
  2. Institutional food preparation and consumption (schools, hospitals, prisons)
  3. Racial and economic justice in regional food systems
  4. Food literacy and food culture
  5. Biodiversity and conservation

Ongoing Projects and Partnerships include the Hudson Valley Farm Hub, the Good Shepherd Conservancy, Brigaid, Poughkeepsie Food Hall, Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture, and Corn / Meal.