Food system governance: A systematic literature review
This article (PDF) by WUR seeks to capture how food system governance has been conceptualized in academic literature since the world food prices crises of 2007/2008 and what proposals have been developed to change and strengthen food system governance. The review of food systems shows that two scientific frames can be distinguished: the first one is to conceive a food system as a chain of interlinked activities from production to consumption; the second one is to frame a food system as a ‘socio-ecological system’ (SES), in which ecological processes and socio-economic change are seen as interlinked drivers and outcomes of a food system. Four main proposals can be distinguished to change food system governance: adaptive governance, reflexive governance, resistance governance and policy integration. To further develop food system governance as an emerging field of research, the authors generally propose to explore how the different conceptualizations of food system governance that underlie these proposals, can enrich each other. More specifically, it is suggested to include governance in analytical frameworks on the complexity and dynamics of food systems as socio-ecological systems. Also, it is proposed to use and test the concept of adaptive governance in empirical, multi-level, multi-actor and multi-site research of food systems.
This article is part of the book ‘Food systems governance: Challenges for justice, equality and human rights‘, that addresses a range of issues in food governance revolving around questions of justice, fairness, equality and human rights. The book shows that food governance issues can occur in many ways and at many points along the food chain. The risks and impacts, particularly with the increasing globalisation of food systems, are often distributed in unequal ways. The book offers directions for reform of the law and legal institutions to mitigate the dangers of inequality and promote greater fairness in food governance.