The New Science of Sustainable Food Systems: Overcoming Barriers to Food Systems Reform
The report of IPES-Food, entitled The New Science of Sustainable Food Systems: Overcoming Barriers to Food Systems Reform (PDF), makes the case for reaching beyond the traditional bounds of the scientific community in conducting this analysis. According to the authors, to accelerate the shift towards sustainable food systems, a new science of sustainable food systems is needed. This paper traces out the contours of a new analytical framework for sustainable food systems (Section 1). It then describes the principles of transdisciplinary science that must be applied in order to generate the types of knowledge that can support the transition to sustainable food systems (Section 2). Finally, it considers previous and ongoing attempts to address sustainable food systems at the interface of science, policy and practice, in order to identify where initiatives have succeeded, where challenges remain, and how these energies can be harnessed and combined to support the transition to sustainable food systems (Section 3). The sustainable food systems framework proposed here enables an understanding of specific food systems problems as the component parts of wider systemic problems, and as functions of particular logics and dynamics running all the way through a food system. Such a framework can help to identify synergies and leverage points for implementing solutions aimed at strengthening the resilience and sustainability of food systems as a whole.