Knowledge for better food systems

Sustainable food system assessment

This book explores different indicators that are used to assess the sustainability of food systems and how projects using these metrics can affect communities and policies.

Publisher’s summary

Sustainable Food System Assessment provides both practical and theoretical insights about the growing interest in and response to measuring food system sustainability. Bringing together research from the Global North and South, this book shares lessons learned, explores intended and actual project outcomes, and highlights points of conceptual and methodological convergence.

Interest in assessing food system sustainability is growing, as evidenced by the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact and the importance food systems initiatives have taken in serving as a lever for attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This book opens by looking at the conceptual considerations of food systems indicators, including the place-based dimensions of food systems indicators and how measurements are implicated in sense-making and visioning processes. Chapters in the second part cover operationalizing metrics, including the development of food systems indicator frameworks, degrees of indicator complexities, and practical constraints to assessment. The final part focuses on the outcomes of assessment projects, including impacts on food policy and communities involved, highlighting the importance of building connections between sustainable food systems initiatives.

The global coverage and multi-scalar perspectives, including both conceptual and practical aspects, make this a key resource for academics and practitioners across planning, geography, urban studies, food studies, and research methods. It will also be of interest to government officials and those working within NGOs.

 

Reference

Alison, B.P., Conaré, D., Meter, K., Di Battista, A. and Johnston, C., 2019. Sustainable Food System Assessment (Open Access): Lessons from Global Practice. Routledge, Abingdon.

Read more here. See also the Foodsource chapter Environmental impacts of food: an introduction to LCA and the FCRN project Plating up Progress?

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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