Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Economic and political theories

Whether it comes to understanding consumer behaviour, socio-economic determinants of health and wellbeing or how businesses respond to new regulation, there are many different economic and political theories that try to make sense of the world. Different schools of thought provide different views of problems and ways to tackle food system sustainability challenges. One example is the contested concept of sustainable development, where there are several opposing theories on its meaning and mission. One of these argues that 'green growth' is both possible and necessary to sustain people and the planet, while another states that 'green growth' is in fact an oxymoron, and that sustainability is only possible if economic growth is constrained in recognition of fundamental environmental limits.

11 November 2019

This book describes how the system of capitalism affects the choices that fishers make at sea, including balancing profitability and human safety.

11 November 2019

This book shows how innovation in the European food system is contributing to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, and give recommendations for how various stakeholders can cooperate productively with startups and entrepreneurs.

9 October 2019

In an open letter, the RSA Food, Farming and Countryside Commission urges the Secretaries of State in several UK government departments (including Defra, International Trade, Health, Business, and International Development) to consider the environmental implications of any future trade deals, in particular to avoid “offshoring” impacts to countries with weaker environmental standards.

9 October 2019

This discussion paper from the Food Research Collaboration examines “food hubs”, which it defines as “entities that sit between people who produce food and people who use it”, and asks what they are, what they are for and why we need them.

9 October 2019

The Food Ethics Council has published a report on food citizenship, which it defines as a growing movement of people acting as interdependent participants in our food systems, not just as producers or consumers in linear supply chains. 

2 October 2019

This book by Julian Cribb examines the links between food, conflict, hunger and ecological collapse, and develops recommendations for how to build a sustainable global food system that defuses tensions and avoids the mass displacement of people.

18 September 2019

FoodPrint, a project run by GRACE Communications Foundation, has produced an overview of the laws and regulations affecting food in the United States, including details of how food policy is made at different levels of government (federal, state and local). 

22 July 2019

The book Sustainability of the Food System: Sovereignty, Waste, and Nutrients Bioavailability addresses food sustainability through the lens of food sovereignty, environmentally friendly food processes, and food technologies that increase the bioavailability of bioactive compounds.

22 July 2019

This report from the US non-profit Croatan Institute quantifies the current US landscape of investments in regenerative agriculture, including in-depth analyses across asset classes (such as farmland and venture capital), and presents a series of recommendations for investors and stakeholders to build soil health and community wealth through regenerative agriculture.

16 July 2019

New York public policy action tank Brighter Green has published this policy paper, which gives an overview of the state of the plant-based and cellular meat and dairy industries as well as a critique of the criticisms and an effort to reconcile competing concerns and values.

Image: Pxhere, Harvest carrot hand, CC0 Public Domain
9 July 2019

This paper describes four scenarios that reflect ways in which the food system might change in the near future, based on two main factors: dietary shifts and degree of globalisation. The paper suggests that such scenario analyses can be helpful in envisaging future paths beyond “business as usual”, even when the future of the food system is non-linear and hard to predict.

4 July 2019

This book presents a complete introduction to the political and institutional aspects of agroecology, covering the whole food system. It sets out a new concept known as political agroecology.

Image: Max Pixel, Food Plant Wild Blueberries, CC0 Public Domain
3 July 2019

This book chapter questions the validity of viewing food primarily as a tradable commodity, noting that doing so encouraging policies based on markets, corporate profit and the private enclosure of resources that were previously freely available to all. The authors propose, instead, that food should be viewed as a commons, i.e. a shared resource. 

25 June 2019

This report from the UK’s Triodos Bank calls for a radical overhaul of the food system with a focus on environmental sustainability, healthy diets, and fair pay for farmers.

11 June 2019

This open access book offers an analysis of urban food policies with reference to policy levers and food system sustainability issues.

11 June 2019

This briefing from the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London outlines the history and importance of food policies (such as mandatory health warning labels, dietary guidelines, or bans on destroying food waste) in influencing the food system.

3 June 2019

This briefing paper from the UK’s Food Research Collaboration, the latest in its Food Brexit Briefings series, reiterates the need for local authorities to create food plans for during and after the UK’s upcoming exit from the European Union.​

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