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About the Network Map

We have answered some common questions about the Global Food Systems Network Map. Feel free to contact us with any other questions about the Map or how Meridian might support your organization’s strategic goals using systems network mapping.

Using the Network Map

Great! To start exploring the Map, click the button below. You will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire. As soon as the form is completed, access to the map is granted.

Explore the Map

We have created a series of instructional videos to help use the Map. Start here, then click the button below to access the other videos.

Watch Other Instructional Videos

The Map displays relationships between nearly 100 multi-stakeholder food system initiatives from across the globe. Each initiative is categorized by whether it is focused on terrestrial or aquatic food systems, the issues the initiative is working on, and what levers the initiative uses to drive change. Each initiative also has an accompanying dataset, which includes details on the initiative’s geographic scope and scale, funding, and membership. You’ll be able to sort by these classifications to view different parts of the Map.

Leveraging the Network Map

Any entity can use the Map to help make sense of the global food systems landscape. The Map can especially help inform funders and organizations active in food systems on how to focus efforts and resources to maximize impact and minimize duplicative efforts.

We developed the Global Food Systems Network Map to help foster and enhance collaboration among those working in the food systems space. Just as Meridian’s work enhances partners’ capacity for cooperation, the Network Map empowers organizations to optimize investments and efforts.

Yes! At Meridian, we have developed network maps to support collaborations with a variety of partners. Please contact us to learn more about how we might support your organization’s strategic goals with network mapping and systems thinking.

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Understanding the Network Map

In our Network Map, an Initiative is a collaborative or network of organizations working on one or more food systems topic areas. We further define Initiatives as entities that clearly articulate a purpose or vision for bringing participating organizations together beyond shared interest (e.g., joint decision-making, resource sharing) and actively effect change through coordinated activity. At Meridian we believe in the power of collaboration to drive action, so we specifically focus on multi-stakeholder initiatives.

An Institution refers to an organization that is an active, participating member of an Initiative. The Network Map displays member and funding Institutions.

If you notice any gaps in our data, please contact us.

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The Map focuses on multi-stakeholder initiatives to support collaborative engagement among actors across the food system. Collaboration is core to Meridian’s mission, so we built this Network Map to help identify potential partnerships and collaborations that will ignite action toward sustainable and equitable food systems.

Building and Updating the Network Map

The Network Map was released in October 2023 as a beta version, based on preliminary data that Meridian gathered. As such, the Map is not comprehensive of every multi-stakeholder initiative actively working in food systems, and some of the data in the Map may be incomplete. We are actively identifying and incorporating new information to improve the Map and enhance its usefulness to those working in food systems. We welcome your comments, revisions, and recommendations via our contact form!

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Meridian has an active portfolio of work in food systems — both terrestrial- and aquatic-based. To track and better understand the landscape of food system efforts globally, we consulted with partners to gather information about networks of actors in the space, including multi-stakeholder initiatives, associated institutions, and funding institutions. This information became the initial source of data for the Network Map.

As we continued to compile information for the Network Map, we also reached out to multi-stakeholder initiatives directly to ensure that the data we had on hand was accurate and up to date.

To build the Network Map, we used the platform Kumu, an interactive, open-source network visualization tool. We chose Kumu due to its powerful ability to map out relational connections within system networks.

While our Map is still a work in progress, we are sharing it as a resource to help those working in food systems better understand the food systems landscape and make informed decisions.

We see the Network Map as a living resource and know that its value will increase only if we continually update it and make it available for input. As such, we invite you to contact us and let us know about other multi-stakeholder food system initiatives that should be in the Map (or amendments to initiatives currently in the Map).

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Some, but not all, Initiatives in the Network Map have information displayed about their operational budgets and key funding institutions (we contacted each Initiative to invite them to disclose or verify such information). The Network Map does not show operational budgets for Initiatives that did not consent to share this information in the Map.

For the Initiatives that did share operational budget data, information is disclosed by range: $0-$100,000, $100,000-$500,000, $500,000-$1 million, $1 million-$5 million, $5 million-$10 million, $10 million-$25 million, $25 million-$50 million, or over $50 million (all in USD).

Funding information can help funders, multi-stakeholder initiatives, and other interested parties better understand the financial dimensions of the food systems landscape. Funders, for instance, can use the Network Map to identify which topic areas are either more or less resourced than others. Multi-stakeholder initiatives can use the Network Map to better understand funders’ interests and identify funders that support specific Initiatives and thematic topics.

It is important to note that funding information is shown in broad ranges and was vetted with the Initiatives to respect their privacy and increase reliability. Additionally, our funding-related dataset only includes information for those Initiatives that consented to sharing such information in the Network Map. We encourage Initiatives and funders to contact us to submit new or updated information.

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The beta version of the Network Map was released in October 2023. It will continue to be updated quarterly, with initial revisions focused on adding new Initiatives and amending information, as necessary.

Please contact us to suggest a multi-stakeholder initiative to include in the Network Map or to notify us about out-of-date, incorrect, or incomplete data. We rely on the broader food systems community to strengthen this tool!

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We identified multi-stakeholder initiatives through Meridian staff insights, desk research, and partner consultations. Because Meridian has worked in food systems for over 25 years, our staff engages with many multi-stakeholder initiatives that drive food systems change.

From this list of identified initiatives, we further selected those that met our criteria for inclusion in the Map (see “Understanding the Network Map” above).

We recognize there are limitations to our knowledge and the boundaries of our networks, so we seek to continually enhance the Network Map. Please contact us to suggest a multi-stakeholder initiative to include in the Map or to notify us about out-of-date, incorrect, or incomplete data.

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We collected all Network Map data by reviewing websites, communications, and publications released from the Initiatives in the Map. We also held discussions with close organizational partners to fill in information gaps. These insights informed the initial coding of each Initiative across thematic areas for the Network Map.

If you have questions about our coding process — or if you notice any out-of-date, incorrect, or incomplete data — please let us know.

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Once multi-stakeholder initiative data was collected and coded, we conducted two additional levels of review. First, Meridian staff with relevant expertise and familiarity with each Initiative reviewed the data. Then, we contacted each Initiative directly to check that the information we had on hand was accurate (e.g., name, year established, topics of focus, operational budget, funding institutions). We invited all Initiatives to add or revise information, as relevant.

If you have questions about our data verification process — or if you notice any out-of-date, incorrect, or incomplete data — please let us know.

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Each Initiative is organized in the Network Map using two variables: the subject area(s) the Initiative works on (Topics) and the levers the Initiative uses to drive change (System Drivers).

We consulted many people within Meridian’s staff and broader network to help generate a list of possible Topics and System Drivers to include in the Network Map. The final determination of what to include was the result of substantial internal discussions, iterations, and engagement with key partners for feedback.

While we have carried out a thorough information gathering, coding, and verification process, the Network Map should be viewed as a resource in its beta form. We acknowledge these current limitations in the Map:

  • Initiatives included in the Map are just a subset of the many multi-stakeholder initiatives working in food systems globally. Certain geographies and types of initiatives may be underrepresented.
  • While we conducted outreach to all Initiatives incorporated in the Map, we did not hear back from some of them. As such, not all information in the Map has been vetted by the Initiatives themselves.
  • The data verification process with Initiatives was limited to reviewing and revising basic information to ease the burden on Initiative staff. A more comprehensive verification process may reveal Map changes that should be implemented.
  • Selecting Topics and System Drivers to include in the Network Map — and determining how each Initiative connects to those thematic categories — is an inherently subjective process. As such, information stored in the Network Map may be open for interpretation.

The Network Map is a snapshot of food systems Initiatives, identified at a specific point in time. However, the Map will continue to evolve. Please contact us to address incorrect information, fill in data gaps, or suggest a multi-stakeholder initiative that you believe should be included in the Map. We appreciate all engagement and support!

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Please get in touch with us to suggest any amendments to the Map. We would be happy to hear from you.

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Yes, please get in touch to let us know more about the initiative.

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This project was developed with funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.