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Convening Service

The World Food Policy Center specializes in convening and coordinating on food system issues. Our theory of change is that relationships and community-led solutions are central to creating sustainable foodways. And, that food systems need to be understood first at the local level.

Convenings are designed to uncover gaps in knowledge and to expose the food system impact of past policy decisions. Our convening model brings people most affected by critical issues together with diverse food system stakeholders--including policymakers, researchers, NGOs, and philanthropic organizations along--to listen, learn, and engage in problem solving together.

What We Do

  • conduct extensive background research and interviews
  • collaboratively develop an attendee roster that brings all needed stakeholders into conversation
  • incorporate historical, cultural, and racial equity understanding of the issue
  • structure the convening experience to include real time data collection from the audience, small group breakouts, and purposeful relationship building
  • facilitate meetings to ensure productive outcomes
  • incorporate meeting elements drawn from human-centered design approaches
  • prepare a convening report and recommendations
  • prepare convening video(s) or podcast interviews with key speakers

Working with Us

We conduct convenings as part of our own center research; as a collaboration method with other research teams; and as a service-for-fee for community, philanthropic or governmental agencies.


Convening Examples

Duke GAIN event

Convening: Food Systems Dialogues

On December 10, 2019, a Food Systems Dialogues (FSDs) event took place in Washington DC, USA, co-organized by FAO North America, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN USA) and Duke University’s World Food Policy Center. Over 100 participants attended, reflecting a range of actors working in Food Systems, ranging from local food policy practitioners to experts from international organizations and the US Government. Tables were asked to present one or more proposals for action to address a specific area of food systems, with a focus on Washington, DC, the United States, as well as global implications. The discussion topics for dialogue at this event addressed the following areas: Food Systems Thinking Child Obesity Reduction Tackling Micronutrient Deficiencies through Biofortification Race, Inequality and Food Systems Gender, Nutrition and Food Systems Key Challenges for Family Farmers City Food Systems and DC Food Policy Proposals Discussed We thank representatives of the following…

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Charlotte skyline

Convening: Charlotte Food & Social Mobility Summit

Summit Purpose In May 2019, The Duke Endowment, Novant Health and the Winer Family Foundation co-sponsored the Charlotte Food & Social Mobility Summit. The event was facilitated by the World Food Policy Center at Duke. The purpose of the event was to start conversations to bridge economic mobility and food in Charlotte, building on the momentum and on-the ground action already taking place in the Charlotte Metro Area. This one-day event was intended to spur new conversations, catalyze new relationships, and begin to drive the conversation to efforts that build community ownership and generational wealth through food-aligning food sovereignty and economic mobility. The presentations grounded attendees in a historic perspective, to explain how the policies and practices that have created the racial wealth gap are still affecting Charlotte communities today. Goals for the Summit Understand the complexity of the wicked problems around food issues and social mobility, and how those…

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Food & Faith Convening

Convening: Food & Faith

The Duke Endowment, the Duke Divinity School and Duke’s World Food Policy Center (WFPC) convened leaders working at the intersection of food and faith to connect and learn from one another. The WFPC, as part of its overarching equitable food communities initiative, led in developing grantee-informed content and the logistics and planning for the convening on November 12-13, 2018. The convening created a strategic platform for building community, engaging in peer-to-peer learning, discussions about evaluation, metrics, and aggregate outcomes, and collectively casting a future vision for this work. The 1-day convening in Durham, North Carolina, included a social dinner the previous evening, with representatives participating from various faith and food organizations. Convening Objectives Develop a state of the science and practice report Network and build community of food and faith practitioners; Share lessons learned, best practices, challenges, innovations, and opportunities for improvement in a peer-to-peer learning environment in which everyone…

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Brainstorming group at meeting

Convening: Early Childhood Development & Nutritional Summit

Research on early childhood demonstrates that nutrition plays a vital role in development. Proper nutrition is crucial for children to support robust physical, cognitive, and emotional development, with important implications for each child well into the later years of life. There is much opportunity to harness what is known from research to create bridges to both policy and practice in hopes of addressing a number of developmental needs. Based on multiple individual conversations with experts, the following priorities emerged for this summit: To connect early childhood development and nutrition (ECDN) research towards unified solutions; To bridge the gaps between research, policy, and practice in developing an integrated system of ECDN services; To develop an action plan of recommendations for real-world application. By convening leading figures in child development, nutrition, public health, policy, and community intervention, we hope to stimulate unique conversation and to develop an optimal set of research, policy,…

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Convening: Building Collaborative Research on Seafood Nutrition and Food Security

The new World Food Policy Center at Duke University hosted a convening on December 12-13, 2017 aimed at producing a state-of-the-art policy research by bridging diverse areas of food policy that have traditionally been isolated, including hunger, malnutrition and food security; chronic disease; agriculture and environment; and food safety and defense. Within that framework, we are building a Sustainable Seafood program at the intersection of food security, nutrition, fisheries,and environmental governance. As part of our efforts to a) conceive and elaborate the Center’s contribution to sustainable seafood policy and b) foster interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral collaboration, we are convening a group of experts for a one-day meeting at the Duke Marine Lab. The purpose of the meeting is to introduce the World Food Policy Center and its goals to the participants, explore the potential for synergy and collaboration, and present and discuss an initial report on the state of the field…

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