Reflection and Going Forward

The Community of Practice convenes each year to better understanding the smallholder farmers we work with and to improve sustainable supply and livelihoods. Data alone is insufficient for learning. Exchange and robust dialogue is in efforts to use data to inform strategy and affect positive change. At the close of the meeting, we reflected on what we learned during our time together and identified areas for continued work going forward:


  • How can data gathering deliver value for farmers?
  • How can companies, NGOs, researchers work with farmers in a respectful way that identifies their needs and considers their desires for the future?
  • How do we better understand what makes data influential for informing decision-making and strategy development?


  • How do we get better at sharing studies consistently and in a useful way so that information is used and work is not duplicated?
  • Could we develop a common reporting template to make comparing data easier?


  • Nutrition is an emerging topic of interest. Can we continue to share on best measurement approaches?


  • Economic data is sensitive. How do we measure this while protecting people’s confidentiality? What are approaches to measuring income?
  • How do we think about and manage the reality that some small farms cannot be economically viable or sustainable (because of their location, farm size, etc.)?
  • After all these years, it still feels as though we have no solution to lift farmers out of poverty. To create impact, we need a theory of change that reduces the amount of people in poverty, what does this look like?


  • We did not focus on metrics to track environmental issues like water quality, soil, or climate resilience.  Sustainable Food Lab will be exploring interest in a working group among leaders in this topic in the coming months.

Perhaps the most striking take-away was the call for more collaboration and data sharing. As more data is collected, including overlapping data in the same communities, the community of practice calls on actors in the field to work together where possible. Increasingly companies and organizations are realizing that the shared challenges that smallholder agricultural systems face necessitate shared solutions—only by joining forces can we make real progress.

Thank you from the Sustainable Food Lab Team!

Annex of Tools and Approaches

Resource Sharing


Income Measurement Resources

Nutrition Resources

Service Delivery Model Resources

Sustainable Development Goal Resources

Sustainable Food Lab

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