Odysseus is committed to creating innovative approaches to societal issues to impact long-term systemic change. Through analysis of major systems and processes, Odysseus supports and empowers industry stakeholders to rethink efficiencies leading to greater societal impact. While food system issues are a global problem, solutions will be identified locally, and demonstrating local success will create the framework for macro level change. The goal of this commitment is to use data to drive strategic food system innovations that demonstrate real change in reducing environmental impacts, increasing wealth along the food value change, and increase access to healthy local food, particularly in the most vulnerable communities.
For this commitment, Odysseus will begin on a local platform in North Carolina, assisting 2,500 food system stakeholders (including farmers, distributors, retailers, institutions and consumers) in rethinking farming, transportation, processing, distribution and procurement solutions that will increase agricultural profitability, reduce environmental impact, build local economies and improve community health. With Odysseus' track record in creating innovative solutions and capacity building efficiencies, Odysseus will assist in analyzing, building, managing, and transitioning a long-term food system solution for North Carolina that will have a rolling effect on across America.
These changes will occur through by implementing the following steps:
1. Odysseus will create a meta data analysis by reviewing existing market indicators (including, but not limited to: long term projections for food demand under various scenarios, agricultural innovations, projections of food demand, transportation and energy externalities, and real estate projections in farming communities) and projecting how sustainable farming and food value chain efficiencies would impact the market, environment, health and local economies. This meta data analysis will serve as a key guiding force in designing data driven strategies that will then be piloted and assessed in North Carolina.
2. To support the outcomes of the meta data analysis and to both inform and assess pilot strategies, Odysseus will use the OpenTrak online platform to collect data from a broad range of food system stakeholders in North Carolina. The OpenTrack platform will collect data related to many aspects of the food system (such as farm statistics, production availabilityand transportation systems) and analyze the current system's assets and detriments.
3. Based on both the meta data analysis and the OpenTrak data, Odysseus will design innovative, efficient, and relevant implementation strategies that will be piloted in North Carolina. Interventions proposed may include: production efficiencies around product selection and methods, streamlined transportation and distribution systems; increased access to economically viable markets; co-op production/shared resources; a system of transference for the state; implications for local, state and national policy; micro-fund for farm improvements.
4. Successful pilots will then be scaled, both in North Carolina and piloted outside of North Carolina with the commitment partners. To maintain a system of relevant data to inform decisions in the food system, a unified online platform will be created to continuously share successful strategies for hyper-local markets while simultaneously collecting and reassessing real-time data. This information platform will create the driver for data driven decision making that will increase profitability within the food chain, decrease environmental impact, and increase access to healthy, local foods.
5. After demonstrating local success in North Carolina, Odysseus will assist in rolling out this change nationwide to modify the national food system, creating sustainable enterprise, reducing environmental impacts and improving community health.
Summer 2012 - Stakeholder meeting and partnership alignments in North Carolina
Fall 2012 - Data collection, indexing, meta-analysis; construction and launch of online platform for local data collection.
Winter (January) 2013 - Delivery of initial meta data analysis and resulting recommendations that can be piloted immediately.
Spring 2013 - Reanalysis data-collection systems and initial pilots based on recommendations. and state-wide scaling
Summer 2013 - Review of data and farm system impact
Fall 2013 - Based on data collected during the year, make formal recommendations for solutions to be implemented. Decide on areas of investment to test recommendations.
Spring 2014 - Review and gauge metric analysis for best practices and success
Fall 2014 - Confirm state and national partners that will host the online platform as well as continue to drive the implementation aspects of this project on an ongoing basis. Partners will be selected based on capacity, relevance to the work, and ability to maintain these efforts as a core component of the agency's business model.
Spring 2015 - Transition data tracking to state and external partners for ongoing growth and replication; continuing monitoring metrics
Summer 2015 - Share project outcomes with additional relevant organizations to grow solutions to markets outside of North Carolina using the existing data systems, platforms, and project outcomes to drive strategy.
In 2012, KPMG released the study "Expect the Unexpected: Building Business Value in a Changing World" which identified 10 "megaforces" that will significantly affect global growth over the next two decades (climate change, energy and fuel, material resource scarcity, water scarcity, population growth, wealth, urbanization, food security, ecosystem decline and deforestation). One of the two sectors perceived as being at highest risk but least ready to adapt to these megaforces is food production. Facing a predicted 70-90% rise in food prices by 2030, intervention will be required to reverse localized food shortages, expand sustainable farming practices, reduce resource consumption and create efficiencies throughout the food system to maximize profitability while increasing access to healthy, fair, affordable food. As a correlate, this lack of access to healthy food has been a driver for diet related diseases which produce a devastating effect on the healthcare system. Obesity and its complications (including heart disease, diabetes and cancer) cost an estimated $117 billion per year and drove 27% of per capita spending growth from 1987-2001(CDC-Obesity: Halting the Epidemic by Making Health Easier).To date, there has been minimal data collected and analyzed around food system efficiencies. Without concrete data analysis to establish an understanding of effective and efficient practices throughout the food system, the industry is unsustainable and the opportunity to improve population health is eradicated. Cultivating a sustainable local food system will increase wealth throughout the food value chain, decrease environmental impact, build local economies, and increase access to healthy, local food in the most vulnerable communities. Odysseus is committed to examining the current food system from production to consumption, finding efficient solutions to support sustainability, economic development and health, testing those solutions in North Carolina, and expanding those outcomes nationally.