Frequently Asked Questions

What are the aims and approaches of the Global Collaboration for Resilient Food Systems (CRFS)?

The Global Collaboration for Resilient Food Systems (CRFS) supports agroecological research in three regional communities of practice (Andes, West Africa, and eastern and southern Africa) in food-insecure parts of the world. The aim of the CRFS is to help smallholder farmers feed their world. We take a systems-based approach to effect this change, using shared core principles. In addition to research grants, the CRFS supports convening and capacity strengthening to improve research quality, ensure relevant results, and cultivate local leadership and institutional sustainability in the places we work. Visit our About Us page for more information.


What were the origins of the program? How has it evolved?

The Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP) began in 1983 as a plant biology program. In 2023, it was renamed the Global Collaboration for Resilient Food Systems (CRFS). Find out more about the history and evolution of the program here.


What is a “community of practice” approach?

The CRFS uses a community of practice (CoP) approach, in which people and organizations with a common commitment to agroecological transformation interact regularly to improve their work. The CRFS’s CoP model emphasizes networking, learning, and collective action. The regional CoPs aim to facilitate collaboration, knowledge co-creation, and innovation/information exchange, as well as helping to strengthen capacity at regional, institutional, project, and individual levels. Learning exchange occurs within, between, and beyond the three regional CoPs. More information can be found on the Communities of Practice page.


How are grants awarded?

The CRFS uses a collaborative grant review process composed of members of our program and regional teams. This collaborative review leads to recommendations of grant approval/denial for consideration by the McKnight Foundation board.

The program has a closed application process with occasional targeted calls. While formal requests for funding are accepted only from organizations that have been invited to apply or in response to a targeted call, informal queries are welcome Please visit How to Apply on the McKnight Foundation’s website for selection criteria and more information about our process.


What kinds of projects are supported?

The program takes a holistic, ecosystem approach to agriculture, supporting research and partnerships that lead to increased crop productivity, improved livelihoods and equity, better nutrition, improved environmental outcomes, and contributions to rural vibrancy. The CRFS supports a variety of approaches to these issues, such as crop physiology and breeding, seed systems, analysis and utilization of crop biodiversity, integrated pest management, and commercialization. The program supports clusters of projects located in three geographic regions, and grant projects are made up of partnerships among local, national, or regional research, development, and farmer organizations. Projects are designed to lead from research to practical outcomes. Information on currently funded projects can be found on our Grant Portfolio page.


How long are projects typically funded?

Typically, a CRFS research project is designed to be two to four years in length, with the possibility of renewal for a second or third phase of work. A project often begins with a six-to nine-month inception period, followed by an implementation period.