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Who We Are

The World Food Policy Center is a research, education, and convening organization within Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. Our mission is researching policy so all people have access to nutritious and affordable food from a sustainable food system. Through our work, we explore human perspectives at each stage of problem analysis, solution design, and testing. We strive to uncover historical drivers of inequality and to bridge disconnected areas of food-related policy and practice intentionally. And, we seek to enhance community health and well being by learning from and connecting with the people most affected by food system challenges. Our work centers on:

  • food security
  • food policy evaluation
  • inequality in the food system
  • resilient food system strategies to address food waste & loss, and climate change

Our Approach to Driving Change

We catalyze innovative thinking and coordinated action to change policy and practice across the food system. To do this, we intentionally bridge the worlds of academia, industry, philanthropy, non-profits, governance, community, and culture. We conduct work at the global, national, and local levels in Durham and rural North Carolina.

We strive to:

  • create teams that bring stakeholders and change agents into collaboration
  • seek out and learn from the lived experiences of high-risk populations
  • build the relationships and trust needed to engage as partners in solution ideation
  • analyze historical context and the present-day outcomes of past public policy and practice
  • research gaps in knowledge to cultivate resilient, systemic solutions and best bet recommendations informed by the lived experiences of communities and objective data
  • structure solutions to achieve social justice, and to nurture human and environmental interdependence

Our Values

  • Healthy food is a fundamental human right. Society has a responsibility to create a resilient and sustainable food system to meet the evolving needs of our local, regional, and global communities.
  • Food system solutions must also address the root causes. Systemic and intermittent poverty creates simultaneous issues with housing, healthcare disparity, underemployment, and food insecurity in communities and individual households.
  • Relationships drive change. Trust is the basis for confronting the past, building mutual understanding, and envisioning new opportunities. Change happens at the speed of trust.
  • Community-driven, institution-supported collaborations create sustainability. When institutions support community leadership, community ownership promotes sustained progress.

Why Bridging is Needed to Improve Food Policy

  • Disconnected Policies: Food systems are impacted by policies from many different governing agencies, including agricultural policy, education policy, local/regional/national/international development policy, environmental policy, health policy and more.
  • Disconnected Management & Oversight: Critical components of the food system are not managed as a whole. Such components include use of natural resources, food production, distribution, consumption, and food waste.
  • Impact on Human Health: Diet-related disease is now linked to 8 out of 10 leading causes of death worldwide.
  • Inequity in Food Access: Marginalized communities are disproportionately burdened by current systems of food production, distribution, and marketing.
  • Impact on the Planet: Food production methods are a significant cause of environmental degradation and greenhouse gas.
  • No standard for measuring success: The lack of globally relevant standards--and accountability--contributes to disconnection and insular efforts to improve the food system.