Change Accelerator Intro

The From the Ground Up Change Accelerator

The Impact Hub Berkeley’s “From the Ground Up” (FtGU) is a four part, year-long program that brings together multi-stakeholder organizations working in sustainable food and agriculture to collaborate on joint initiatives. The change accelerator combines dynamic working groups, public-facing education programs, and community building events to drive systemic change in the following areas: • Collaborative Trade • Living Oceans • Local Food Systems • Health Soil/Carbon Farming
See the Impact Hub Berkeley’s website for more information about the FtGU program or public events.  See here for more information about the salon series and topic discussions.


Collaborative Trade-01

FtGU Series 1: Collaborative Trade


Yellow Seed hosts a 3-month Collaborative Trade change accelerator and salon series as part of the Impact Hub’s From the Ground Up Series, a year-long program that brings together leaders in the sustainable cacao industry, along with organizations working to improve the lives of small-scale farmers, to come share their voice and co-design clear next steps for improving supply chain trust and transparency, removing logistical barriers for farmers to access fair markets, and finding ways to share resources that support each other’s work.


Collaborative Trade  is fundamentally about people, and providing opportunities for each person to help create systems that work better for everyone involved. It aspires to create whole and equitable trade systems by addressing market gaps and challenges, while creating alignment around a shared vision that goes beyond the view of any particular stakeholder. It is an evolution of fair and direct trade, allowing individuals within a system to voice and define criteria for value.


The Innovation Challenge: To design healthy, global food supply chains where farmers are treated as equal partners and like-minded organizations work together to accelerate the shift towards sustainability.




Worldwide there are more than 450 million small-scale farmers, representing 70% of the world’s poor. Many of these farmers produce specialty foods like cacao, coffee, tea, dried fruit and spices for international markets using traditional farming methods that respect the environment. Linking these small-scale farmers to fair markets plays a critical role in the health of our global communities, including reducing rural poverty and environmental degradation.


Session Discussion Topics


Topic 1: The Farmer, Buyer and Intermediary Relationship

What builds and breaks supply chain relationships? Presenters share stories from the field and from sourcing and buying experiences. In sourcing circles, the words trust and transparency continue to come up but what do these words really mean and how can we create a sustainable food supply chain that has enough of both? What do buyers need to know from origin and intermediaries in order to trust in the system enough to create a purchasing relationships? What information is valuable and needed by other stakeholders, such as customers or funders to have confidence that the information provided is accurate and reliable?

Part 1: Building Trust, January 26th

Part 2: Story and Transparency, February 8th


Topic 2: The Risky Business of Logistics and Supporting Finance

As demand climbs for quality products from traditional farmers who care about the environment and pay their employees fairly, the logistics around trade transactions with small-scale farmers continue to be a major barrier. First, the lead time between when an order is placed and when the product arrives can be very long (up to a year or more) and second, the process can feel very risky for buyers, not knowing if the product may be spoilt due to unforeseen climatic changes, crop failures or during transport and shipping. While buyers would prefer to pay for product after receiving it and verifying its quality, farmers usually need pre-payment so that they have enough cash on hand to harvest and process the product. As awareness of this gap grows, so does the understanding that finding a bridge between the two would enable sustainable trade to truly scale.

Part 1: Bridging the Gap, February 23rd

Part 2: Criteria for relationship, March 1st


Topic 3: The Role of Technology, Tools and Strategic Partnerships

While there are quite a few individual donor, NGO and governmental projects dedicated to funding small-scale farmers, there are fewer collaborative projects where organizations share information, resources and technology. This working group will tackle the question of how organizations working with small-scale farmers can work together to support each other’s progress? What tools and technology can we share? What information is useful across the board and should not end up on dusty bookshelves? Where can we store these ‘commons’ so that everyone has access to important data that will support their programs? And finally, is there any technology that we can create collectively?

Part 1: Strengthening Market Connections, March 15th

Part 2: Tools for Transparency and Choice, March 31


For more information about each session see the Change Accelerator Program Description.


Design Process


Building while Flying

The process of the Innovation Salons is an active prototype designed to test and translate the theory of Collaborative Trade into action. Yellow Seed’s role is to create the space for direction to emerge and synthesize.


It’s based on the following principles:


  • Multi-stakeholder participation.  Yellow Seed turns decision-making power to the community. Participants are the drivers of change and share the role as designers and crew. Success is built on a shared commitment of resources from all involved to move joint strategies forward.
  • Iterative process. This is an iterative and co-creative learning process.
  • Creating visibility and surfacing value. To develop a shared and holistic understanding of the system we want to change, we will create visibility and surface value of people, products and information. This starts with an inquisitive base of what individual stakeholders within a system need and want.
  • Solutions are emergent. Solutions that work for the whole become apparent as more information is surfaced. Iteration and feedback are key.
  • Achieving understanding via story.  Story telling of experiences offers a key to what has value or meaning to a particular individual or organization and “why” decisions are made.
  • Appreciate imperfection. Success is defined by “we are working on it” and mistakes are part of the process.


Journey and Outputs:


 Follow the journey: We believe individual voices and the synergy of perspectives is what accelerates learning allowing the Collaborative Trade  movement to grow. Following each session, we will post highlights of the stories and experience shared, as a synthesis of learning so you can join the collective learning process with us.

Session 1: Building Trust

Session 2: Coming next!
Outputs: So, where are we headed? While outcomes are based on participation and are emergent, the following map offers a framework for what is possible.


Screenshot 2016-02-06 16.57.46



Public Programs

Public programs will feature inspiring film, lecture, panels and networking events to amplify the work of innovators and changemakers in the food and agriculture space, and provide the public with opportunities to learn, act and engage. Events under development include:

  • Collaborative Trade Launch Party (January 25)
  • Screening of In Defense of Food (March 2)
  • Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love with author Simran Sethi & Special Guests (March 3)
  • Real Food, Real Stories: The Chocolate Diaries  (March 16)
  • The Craftmaker Showcase (March TBD)
  • Collaborative Trade Closing Celebration (April 5)



Program Hosts

Screenshot 2016-02-06 16.05.59


For more info visit:

Innovation Salon Details



Michael Anzalone, Managing Director

Nancy Zamierowski, Collaboration Architect

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