The Food Commons

Each year, The Buckminster Fuller Institute invites scientists, designers, architects, activists, entrepreneurs, artists and planners from all over the world to submit their innovative solutions to some of humanity’s most pressing problems. A $100,000 prize is awarded to support the development and implementation of one outstanding strategy.

Cursor_and_buckminster-fuller-beauty_jpg__2271×1250_The Food Commons seeks to build a complete and fully integrated system for local/regional food that is community-based in its ownership and operations yet networked nationally/internationally for governance, learning and innovation.  It is not seeking to level the playing field of the globalized industrial food system, but rather to create a new playing field, especially for small and medium-sized food enterprises that have been marginalized by the current system.  It is a back to the future concept that aligns perfectly with the criteria of the Fuller Challenge.  

Imagine under one umbrella, a system of small farms, processing facilities, distribution services, and retail markets all dedicated to bringing the freshest, tastiest local food to your tables.  And imagine all this owned by the citizens of your community. 

In essence, the Food Commons is a more fair and equitable food system that embraces the philosophy of the commons and community stewardship. To read more about the Food Commons model, visit

Twenty Semi-Finalist proposals, including ours, have been selected out of an entry pool of over 450 applications and have undergone a rigorous review for adherence to the seven-point Challenge criteria: Visionary, Comprehensive, Ecologically Responsible, Feasible, Verifiable, and Replicable. Our application has been through three rounds of vetting by the members of the Challenge Review Committee, including analysis and evaluation by an interdisciplinary team of experts and advisors. 

“Each of these projects deserve the attention of the world for their commitment to ‘solving for system’ – an approach that takes an unusual degree of insight, patience, tenacity and courage”, said Elizabeth Thompson, The Buckminster Fuller Institute’s Executive Director. “The teams behind these initiatives have made extraordinary efforts to define the systemic context underlying the problem they are seeking to solve, and have designed strategies that provide enduring and sustainable solutions. Each is a remarkable example of the transformative power of individual initiative and provide much needed hope and encouragement that solutions to our most entrenched problems are indeed at hand.” 

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