Achieving sustainable food security in Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the main challenges facing African governments and the international community. The 2007–2008 food crisis and ongoing chronic hunger problems clearly demonstrate that millions of people on the continent, including in relatively stable countries such as Kenya, are dangerously vulnerable to economic, political and climatic shocks that threaten food availability and accessibility. At the heart of the strategies to build resilience and tackle food insecurity is the need for effective institutional and policy frameworks that can support local innovations while taking into account the biophysical, social and economic constraints within which rural livelihoods operate. The papers included in this Special Issue of Food Security support the view that for food security initiatives in Kenya to be effective, they must embrace solutions that are equitable, generalizable and ecologically sound to ensure sustainability. Ultimately, to improve innovation and technology adoption, a systems approach that allows women and men, wealthy and poor farmers to engage with scientific and political elites in the design and implementation of food-related research and development initiatives must be embraced. There is also the need to develop tools and approaches that can assist smallholder farmers, researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders to share a better understanding of the multiple factors driving food insecurity and hindering the implementation of effective policies and institutions.