The Wallace Center is excited to experiment with a new strategy to encourage collaboration, creativity, and innovation through the Food Systems Leadership Network: the Gamechangers Laboratory!

The Gamechangers Laboratory aims to catalyze breakthrough ideas, new approaches, and innovations for building community food security through community-based food systems. In this first pilot year of the Laboratory, three selected teams will be guided and supported through a 6-month creative journey to design new strategies for tackling food insecurity through community-based food systems. At the end of the six-month design journey, teams will present their game-changing ideas and their collective learning to a national audience and a group of potential funders at the 2020 National Good Food Network Conference, March 10-13, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

What selected teams will receive:

· Hands-on support throughout a 6-month, 6-phase design process to develop food systems innovations

· $25,000 in direct financial support—delivered in three tranches (start, mid-way, and completion)

· Monthly guidance and coaching from a Gamechangers Lab Advisor.

· Tailored Technical Assistance based on team needs assessment and specific technical questions that arise during the design and prototyping process

· A $5,000 travel stipend to support team participation in a 3 day in-person kickoff retreat in New Orleans, LA and the NGFN 2020 Conference (also in New Orleans)

· A unique opportunity to be a part of a creative, courageous, and collaborative cohort catalyzing change in community-based food systems!

What is this all about?

Drawing inspiration from social labs, design hubs, and social enterprise incubators and accelerators, and using cutting-edge tools and frameworks from systems leadership and human-centered design, we envision the Gamechangers Lab as an action-oriented think tank for community-based food systems and food systems leadership. The Lab presents a unique opportunity for community food systems leaders to get creative, think outside the box, and collaboratively develop ideas and strategies that perhaps haven’t been tested or fundable to date. Our goal is to co-develop ideas, strategies, and approaches that have the potential to be scalable, replicable and/or adaptable and share those ideas liberally across the Food Systems Leadership Network.

The only constraint is that the solutions/ideas/new strategies must address food insecurity through community-based food systems—defined as community-led solutions to developing equitable health, wealth, connection, and capacity through food, based on a community’s unique set of assets, opportunities, challenges, and priorities. This is a working definition that may be refined or re-defined through this initiative.

In this pilot year of the Gamechangers Lab, the Wallace Center is embracing the same learning, experimental, and adaptive approach that we ask of participants. We have a unique opportunity to dream and we have funds to support that process. We are looking for creative, courageous, and collaborative partners who are eager to experiment with us and discover new ways to ensure that all people in every community are nourished by good food!

This initiative is made possible with the generous support of philanthropist-entrepreneur Ryan D. “Jume” Jumonville, who joined the Giving Pledge in February 2019. Jumonville’s company, United Networks of America, is a member of the Children’s Miracle Network “Miracle Million Club,” and he has provided significant support to a wide variety of causes around the world. See this press release for more information about Mr. Jumonville and the Gamechangers Lab.



Here are a few resources to help: 

· Informational Call Recording

· Informational Call Presentation slides

· FAQ document

As always, feel free to reach out directly: 

Application Requirements:

In keeping with the experimental spirit of this initiative, we are shaking things up a bit with the application process!

We invite teams of 3-5 people to apply to participate in the Lab together. Potential applicants should form their teams using the criteria outlined below for guidance.

Applying teams must submit a 10-minute video proposal that answers the questions outlined below. Along with the video, teams must complete a short, written application (which includes your team’s contact and demographic information). Preview application questions here and submit your application via this link

The video and completed written application must be submitted by 11:59pm CST on July 29, 2019.

Team criteria:

The Gamechangers Laboratory presents a unique opportunity for diverse teams of food systems leaders, movers, and shakers to collaboratively think and create together. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you form your team:

· Teams should have a minimum of 3 people and a maximum of 5 people.

· Each team member should be willing and have the capacity to fully participate in the program, including attendance at 2 in-person events (kick-off retreat in October and 2020 National Good Food Network Conference in March, both in New Orleans).

· Teams should include diverse perspectives, areas of expertise, and lived experiences with respect to the food system. Team members should have a personal stake in solving the challenge (ex. different roles in the community and parts of the food value chain)

· Teams should have experience working together effectively Please note—we are not seeking applicants who are at the beginning of a team building journey. Example-- this might include participating in a coalition or a Food Policy Council together, or having collaborated on a project or campaign together.

· Members should have an organizational and individual willingness to embrace new ideas, think creatively, and make changes to current way of doing things.

· Teams do not necessarily have to be place-based (see note about “community” below)– you might have team members from different parts of the country all working on the same issue (ex. Finding ways to make Market Match financially sustainable, or connecting New Americans to urban farming)

· Teams must have a fiscal structure in place to manage the grant funds that includes an MOU amongst all parties signed before the kick-off retreat (not required for application process)

· Teams must provide a lead contact person who will manage communications with the team and with the Wallace Center.

Video application guidelines:

In a 10- minute or less video proposal, please answer each of the following questions:

1. Help us get to know you! Tell us about your team. Some questions to consider:

  • Who are you and where are you located?
  • What brought you together and what values do you share? 

2. Tell us about your community* and the current situation with respect to food insecurity and community-based food systems. Some questions to consider:

  • What are your community’s priorities and what is getting in the way of realizing those priorities?
  • What assets does your community have that might be leveraged in a new way?
  • How are you personally involved or affected? What’s your stake in it?

3. What have you learned from previous approaches to addressing food insecurity in your community? Some questions to consider:

  • What worked?
  • What didn’t?

4. Why do you want to participate in the Gamechangers Laboratory? What will you be able to do through the Gamechangers Laboratory that you would not otherwise accomplish?

5. Anything else you want us to know? Is there a question you wished we had asked that you’d like to respond to?

*Please note:

· We are broadly defining “community” – might be place/geography, lived experience, or identity-based, and/or a group of people with a shared practice or purpose.

· If submitting a video application is a barrier to your team applying, please send a note with your justification to

· If you would like to submit your video application in a language other than English, please contact us at (Si prefieres mandar tu aplicación en Español, por favor contactanos a

Application Tips:

· Max 10-minute video application.

· Have each member of your team represented in the video.

· No need for fancy editing…. You can make the video using your phone. We’re not looking for well-produced videos; we’re looking for creativity, a spirit of collaboration, and the courage and openness to examine the situation in a new way. Demonstrate how the challenge you seek to address requires a new approach.

· Demonstrate your team’s working dynamic and ability to activate quickly if selected.

· Demonstrate how your team has a stake in solving the problem.

Selection criteria:

A selection team consisting of Wallace Center Staff, Gamechangers Advisors, and FSLN Members will review the videos and accompanying materials. Reviewers will be considering the following questions when reviewing your video application:

· Does this team have a track record of working together? Could they activate quickly if selected? 

· Is each member of the team represented in the video? Does each member appear to have a stake/ownership in the application? 

· Does this team represent a diversity of perspectives, areas of expertise, and lived experiences?  

· Is the current situation, as presented, rooted in a community perspective? 

· Does this application demonstrate how the challenge they seek to address requires a new approach and collaboration to be effectively solved? 

· Does the team show flexibility in adapting and re-considering their approach, based on their learnings from failures? 

· Does the application offer a compelling argument for what they can accomplish through the Gamechangers Laboratory that they otherwise could not? 

· Does this team have the potential to develop a creative, bold, potentially scalable innovation that drives better food security outcomes through community-based food systems?

· Do you believe this team will be able to effectively pitch their idea at the 2020 NGFN conference? 

Application and Selection Timeline:

  • Applications are due at 11:59pm CST on July 29.
  • Wallace Center Staff and Gamechangers Advisors will interview finalists the week of August 5 via Zoom.
  • Selected teams will be announced by August 15.
  • The program will begin September 9, 2019 and end March 15, 2020.

Gamechangers Laboratory Timeline:

The Gamechangers Laboratory runs from September 2019 - March 2020

Questions and Suggestions:

As this is the inaugural round of the Lab, we’ve likely missed some things! We welcome your questions about the application process and any suggestions you might have on how we can make the process clearer. Please email with “Questions- Gamechangers Lab” in the subject line. Thank you!