Creating multiple possible local futures: a tool for change

On the 20th of January, 2016 the first out of two local workshop was organized in Leuven. The main goal of this workshop was to downscale the scenarios that had been produced in an earlier European workshop (read about that in this earlier post) to the Flemish context and identify the elements within these scenarios that are or might become relevant for Voedselteams.

Voedselteams are an alternative food network that builds on the engagement and cooperation of individuals and families. The food teams are consumer teams that consist of at least twelve households, that together organize their (local) food purchases and deliveries. Each member can order food according to his/her needs. The teams are supported by a central organization, that next to its social enterprise function also is registered as an official socio-cultural movement.
The workshop that was organized was the first one out of two. The main goal of these two workshops is to develop a resilient and robust transition pathway for Voedselteams so that they can play a stronger role in providing Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) in Flanders.

In this first workshop, 25 individuals were brought together, both from Voedselteams the organization, as well as scientists, policy makers and members of civil society organizations. This mix of participants did not only allow Voedselteams to zoom out from its daily practices, but also provided insights to other actors, therefore creating a possible trickle-down effect of the techniques and the outcomes of the workshop. The goal of the workshop, then, was to develop ‘multiple possible futures’, so that in a later stage the challenges that these scenarios would pose to Voedselteams of possible futures, thereby facing Voedselteams with the widest possible range of challenges.

The first step of the process consisted of down-scaling the European scenario to the Flemish context. This meant that each group member first got some time to think for him/herself what the specific scenario would mean for the Flemish context after which each idea was written on a post-it. Following from this, the ideas were clustered and brought together in one coherent scenario for 2030. At the same time, a cartoonist moved along the groups to immediately produce a visual representation of the essence of each of the scenarios.

Secondly, a ‘road-map’ was developed that described the developments from 2016 to the specific scenario in 2030. In this way, critical nodes or elements could be identified that might pose future challenges to Voedselteams. During the third and last exercise, the relationships between these elements were identified through the creation of Fuzzy maps.

All in all, the workshop was an organic and engaging process, bringing up multiple possible challenges that Voedselteams might face in the future. In a second workshop, pathways will be developed that will be able to deal with these challenges. These pathways can then form a basis for Voedselteams and other actors to develop a robust future strategy so that their potential to contribute to FNS in Flanders is enlarged and strengthened.

KUL De verenigde steden van vlaanderen

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