- February 24, 2016
A food system considers the multiple activities, resources and actors engaged in producing, processing, distributing and consuming food. These are all shaped by, and interact with, every- thing from soup to nuts – i.e., all the environmental, social, political and economic boundary conditions that determine what type of food can be produced where, how it is used, and by whom. All these elements are strongly influenced by global change drivers such as population growth, changing consumption patterns, biodiversity loss, and climate change. Given that our food systems are already struggling to bring home the bacon (i.e., to deliver on their intended outcomes of global food and nutrition security) these increasing pressures will catapult our tasks out of the frying pan and into the fire.
In order to ensure food and nutrition security for all, it is important to look at the issues in an integrated manner. This of course does not exclude the essential need for expert knowledge, but it does suggest that we need to spend more time understanding how issues are connected, their root causes, and where critical leverage points might be. This calls for greater exchange across disciplines, sectors and scales, and for new ways of thinking and working. We are grateful to the contributors to this issue for providing some food for thought about such approaches.