Announcing Food + Future Community Programs — Creating Pathways To Action

Community and collaboration are in the DNA of Food + Future.

While we started as a collaboration between three organizations (Target, MIT Media Lab, and IDEO) our network of collaborators has grown quickly beyond that over the past 15 months. Our ranks now include designers, farmers, scientists, nutrition experts, engineers, teachers, veteran entrepreneurs and more.

Nurturing a diverse and inclusive community is critically important to achieving our purpose. As F+F team members Hilary discusses, there are no silver bullets to solving the world’s largest food problems, and as we continue to uncover the wide-reaching and complex nature of these topics, we simultaneously see how diverse and inclusive participation is required to solve them. Everyone must have a seat at the table.

Food + Future seeks to nurture the most diverse and most action-oriented food community in world. We don’t just build community for community’s sake, we build community to harness and unleash its power.

In that vein, we are extremely excited to announce the launch of Food + Future Community Programs.

We hope these programs create pathways to action, helping guide the community towards unleashing their passion and skills on some big, meaty problems.

Friends of Food + Future

We all know them: the selfless, hustling, optimistic community leaders in our midst who not only work for food system change, but also make a point to meet, greet, and connect everyone they can in the food community. We are grateful to have a couple of them on our team at Food + Future, but there are many many more out there who perhaps don’t even realize that they are the glue that connects us.

The Friends of Food + Future program is our way to say “Thank you!” and “Keep doing what you’re doing!”

The concept is simple: We invite a handful of these community catalysts to office out of our Kendall Square headquarters for free and to use our space as a venue and vehicle for community building efforts, especially as it relates to connecting people and organizations.

Friends of Food + Future are:
- Give-before-you-get types
- Natural connectors
- Always smiling

Know someone who fits the mold? Is it you? Let us know at community@foodfuture.com.

Food + Future Salon Series

The Food + Future Salon Series is designed to provoke dialogue and inspire action. Salons should challenge your thinking and raise lots of small “t” truths that you may not have previously considered. They are an opportunity to confront each other’s diverse perspectives in respectful and generative ways. They are simultaneously big and intimate: large enough to feel the energy of the crowd around you, yet small enough to be approachable and welcoming.

Food + Future quietly held its first Salon at MIT Media Lab in November 2016. Check out the video recap below.

For the second installment in the Food + Future Salon Series, we’re excited to collaborate with Bitten for a Salon themed “On Transparency.” It will take place on Friday, March 24 in Boston and registration is open now.

What Food + Future loves about Bitten and its founder Naz Riahi is its inclusive, diverse, and community-driven approach to the food conversation. By making a concerted effort to consider food through a wide array of lenses including pop-culture, science, creativity, art, trends, technology, and entrepreneurship, we think Bitten elevates the provocation of the conversation. Here’s a video recap of its most recent conference in LA.

Think of Food + Future Salons as TEDx for Food with a mini-hackathon bolted on:
- Friday Evening: An evening of inspirational speakers & storytellers
- Saturday Morning: A “make-a-thon” style workshop for attendees to take action on the inspiration that they gleamed from the speakers.

Design & Tinker Nights

In the vein of creating pathways for action, we noticed there was a lack of regular stepping stones for the community (especially the not-yet-but-soon entrepreneurs) to explore and tinker with early stage ideas.

“Design & Tinker Night” hosted by Food + Future is a meetup to bring Boston’s food community together to explore, experiment, and tinker with ideas that improve our food system. This meetup emphasizes “making” things, whatever those things may be. You will have Food + Future’s space and resources to help push things forward.

All are welcome. No technical expertise required.

Our first two events are scheduled for:

Food + Future Fellowships

The Food + Future Fellowship will invite a diverse and passionate cohort from the community to work with Food + Future for a set period of time with the goal of exploring, prototyping, and launching ventures that positively impact the food system. Unlike an accelerator or incubator that looks for ideas, we are looking for passionate people who bring a special superpower to the table in the fight for food system change. The Food + Future Fellowship is a big step on the pathway to action for the food system change-maker.

While the nuts and bolts of the fellowship program are still being fleshed out, we are targeting early summer for the start of our next cohort of fellows.

If you are interested in the Food + Future Fellowship and would like to be notified when official applications open, please tell us here.

Or, if you’ve seen inspiring fellowship models and programs in the world from which you think we can draw, let us know by emailing community@foodfuture.com.

Food + Future forms radical collaborations in an open, optimistic environment to create ventures that will make an impact.

We have learned a lot in our 1 year of existence, but perhaps the most important thing we’ve learned is the importance of a diverse and inclusive community of superpowers. We’re excited to see our community take action in 2017 and hope these programs create pathways that make taking action a little bit easier.