Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen Food Systems Fellowship 2023

Deadline: December 1, 2022

Through Acumen Academy, the world’s leading institution for social change, the Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen Food Systems Fellowship is a demanding one-year leadership development programme.

Twenty food systems leaders from different parts of the world who are fostering more fair, healthful, and sustainable food systems will be introduced to moral leadership concepts through the Food Systems Fellowship. Fellows will take part in a variety of immersive lectures, workshops, and self-directed leadership experiments with top food systems facilitators. Over the course of the Fellowship year, the curriculum will incorporate both on-site and online instruction.

After Year 1 of the Fellowship, Food Systems Fellows will become a part of Acumen’s international network of social innovators working to eradicate injustice and poverty.


  • Join a globally diverse cohort of experienced food systems builders 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 programme.
  • All programme-related costs are covered by the Fellowship.
  • Bring examples from your work into the programme to guide your learning, then take learnings from the programme back to guide your work and create or increase impact.

Beyond Year 1: What happens after the programme

  • Join a lifelong alumni community of over 1,000 social innovators around the world — they 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.


  • Open to people that have worked for at least five years in the food systems space and have a vision for building nourishing, regenerative, and equitable food systems.
  • They are looking for individuals who currently have a leadership role in one or more organizations or initiatives that are committed to food systems work on a full-time basis. They will consider applicants who are working part-time on an exceptional basis, as long as they demonstrate a full-time commitment to food systems work.
  • All seminars and workshops are conducted in English. Conversational proficiency in English is a requirement to ensure Fellows are able to give and get the most from this experience.

Fellows are extraordinary emerging systems builders who dare to embrace the difficult journey of social change in food systems. You will be joining a cohort composed of individuals who will typically be on one of the following trajectories:

  • 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.


The three-stage online selection process is designed to understand your capacity, willingness, and potential to grow as systems builders who will be at the forefront of systems change within food systems.

  • Apply: tell them about your journey in food systems work so far and your vision moving forward. 16 Oct – 1 Dec 2022
  • Complete Assignments: show your capacity for leadership and the impact of your work. 2 – 15 Jan 2023
  • 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. 11 – 12 Mar 2023
  • The Rockefeller Foundation – Acumen Food Systems Fellows 2023 Cohort Announcement: Apr 2023
  • Immerse Yourself in the Food Systems Fellowship: Apr-Nov 2023

Click here to apply

Oyin Olufayo

Oyin Olufayo is a Sustainable Development Goals Advocate. A recent graduate of The School of Politics, Policy, and Governance (SPPG) She is a Technical Writer, Political Writer, and a Content Writer. Her passion for sustainable development goals has been implemented by creating tangible solutions. She has featured in grassroots initiatives like TedX, World Literacy Foundation, Spur Nation Media, FRCN, Naija Law and etc. spreading the impact of Sustainable education, and also facilitated numerous events regarding SDGs.

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