Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen Food Systems Fellowship 2023

Deadline: December 1, 2022

Applications for the Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen Food Systems Fellowship 2023 are now open. The Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen Food Systems Fellowship is an intensive, one-year leadership development programme offered through Acumen Academy, the world’s school for social change.

The Food Systems Fellowship will introduce moral leadership concepts to a globally diverse cohort of 20 food systems leaders who are creating more equitable, 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.


  • 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

For more information, visit Food Systems Fellowship.

By Bello

Ismail Bello is a content creator and enthusiast who is passionate about youth development.