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Sustainability 2016, 8(6), 515; doi:10.3390/su8060515

The Complexity of Food Systems: Defining Relevant Attributes and Indicators for the Evaluation of Food Supply Chains in Spain

1
Departament d’Economia i d’Història Economica, Facultat d’Economia i Empresa, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Office B3-112, Building B, Campus UAB, Bellaterra 08193, Spain
2
Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Campus UAB, Bellaterra 08193, Spain
3
Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), Av. Carl Friedrich Gauss, 5, Castelldefels 08060, Spain
4
Facultat de Ciències i Tecnologia, Universitat de Vic - Universitat Central de Catalunya, Barcelona 08500, Spain
5
Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), Passeig Lluís Companys, 23, Barcelona 08010, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Gianluca Brunori
Received: 15 January 2016 / Revised: 18 May 2016 / Accepted: 19 May 2016 / Published: 27 May 2016
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Abstract

The wide-ranging literature on food systems provides multiple perspectives and world views. Various stakeholders define food and food systems in non-equivalent ways. The perception of the performance of food systems is determined by these specific perspectives, and a wide variety of policies responding to different aims are proposed and implemented accordingly. This paper sets out to demonstrate that the pre-analytical adoption of different narratives about the food system leads to non-equivalent assessments of the performance of food supply chains. In order to do so, we (i) identify a set of relevant narratives on food supply chains in Spanish and Catalan contexts; (ii) identify the pertinent attributes needed to describe and represent food supply chains within the different perspectives or narratives; and (iii) carry out an integrated assessment of three organic tomato supply chains from the different perspectives. In doing so, the paper proposes an analysis of narratives to enable the analyst to characterize the performance of food supply chains from different perspectives and to identify the expected trade-offs of integrated assessment, associating them with the legitimate-but-contrasting views found among the social actors involved. View Full-Text
Keywords: food systems; food supply chains; narratives; integrated assessment food systems; food supply chains; narratives; integrated assessment
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Gamboa, G.; Kovacic, Z.; Di Masso, M.; Mingorría, S.; Gomiero, T.; Rivera-Ferré, M.; Giampietro, M. The Complexity of Food Systems: Defining Relevant Attributes and Indicators for the Evaluation of Food Supply Chains in Spain. Sustainability 2016, 8, 515.

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