The Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen Food Systems Fellowship 2022


Application Deadline: December 1st 2021

The Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen Food Systems Fellowship is an intensive, one-year leadership development program offered through Acumen Academy, the world’s school for social change. The inaugural Food Systems Fellowship will introduce moral leadership concepts to a globally diverse cohort of 20 food systems leaders who are creating more inclusive, nourishing and regenerative food systems. With leading food systems facilitators, Fellows will participate in a blend of immersive seminars, workshops, and self-directed leadership experiments. The program will combine in-person and virtual learning over the course of the Fellowship year.

After Year 1 of the Fellowship, Food Systems Fellows will join Acumen’s global community of social innovators building a world without poverty and injustice.

Year 1: Fellowship year

  • Join a globally diverse cohort of experienced food systems leaders in a rigorous year-long experience
  • Improve your capacity to innovate and drive change within food systems by practicing essential systems leadership skills
  • Learn via a mix of immersive seminars, workshops, and self-directed leadership experiments with the support of trained facilitators and world class experts
  • Part-time — you stay in your job while participating in the program
  • All program-related costs are covered by the Fellowship
  • Bring examples from your work into the program to guide your learning, then take learnings from the program back to guide your work and create or increase impact

Beyond Year 1: What happens after the program

  • Join a lifelong alumni community of over 1000 social innovators around the world — we call this community ‘The Foundry.’
  • Access the resources and relationships to amplify your important work in architecting a just, inclusive, and sustainable world. This includes access to social innovators, funders, and mentors.


  • Social Entrepreneurs: Founding or leading a for-profit or non-profit organization that provides critical goods or services to underserved populations within food systems.
  • Social Intrapreneurs: Creating innovative solutions to tackle food systems challenges from within an existing institution by shifting its culture and/or strategy, and building new collaborations.
  • Organizational Builders: Supporting the growth of an organization focused on alleviating food systems challenges by building the internal structures, and processes that enable the organization to pursue its purpose.
  • Public Sector Leaders: Reimagining public policy and leveraging the government services to drive change within food systems.
  • Bridge Builders: Finding and connecting organizations and leaders to discover commonalities and activate a shared vision for food systems transformation.


Embrace the gradual and meaningful process of creating systemic change within food systems at the personal, organizational, and societal levels:

Personal – Examine the identities, values, and choices that have shaped your journey until now and cultivate a deeper understanding of yourself and your work within food systems. – Explore the meaning of a just society and the moral and historical foundation of social change through text-based dialogue.

Organizational – Cultivate the ability to lead effectively when opposing but interdependent values are in tension. – Understand how to lead diverse stakeholders through recurring and complex challenges.

Societal – Question your assumptions and beliefs about leading effective change in food systems. – Navigate the food system you operate in using moral imagination.

The curriculum draws on powerful leadership frameworks, tools, and approaches, including Adaptive Leadership, Good Society Readings, Polarities Management, Immunity to Change, and Systems Thinking.

Application Procedure

  1. Apply — tell us about your journey in food systems work so far and your vision moving forward. 14 Oct – 1 Dec 2021
  2. Complete Assignments — show us your capacity for leadership and the impact of your work. 3-17 Jan 2022
  3. Attend the Selection Conference — connect with food systems finalists across the world and explore why this is the right time for you to be a Fellow. 12-13 Mar 2022
  4. The Rockefeller Foundation – Acumen Food Systems Fellows 2022 Cohort Announcement — Apr 2022
  5. Immerse Yourself in the Food Systems Fellowship — Apr-Oct 2022

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen Food Systems Fellowship 2022


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