Special Issue "Sustainable Food Chains"


A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 October 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Han Wiskerke
Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands
Website: http://www.wageningenur.nl/rso
E-Mail: han.wiskerke@wur.nl
Phone: +31 317 482679
Fax: +31 317 485475
Interests: rural development; agri-food studies; alternative food networks; urban food provisioning; food planning; sustainable place-making

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Our current food system is facing major sustainability challenges. About 65% of the daily water consumption is used for the production and processing of food. The Western style diet requires between 7 and 10 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce 1 calorie of food energy, when looking at energy use in the entire food chain. Both water and fossil fuel are likely to become scarce, in particular in light of the expected growth of the world population from the current 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050. Furthermore, the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers has contributed to environmental pollution and degradation. The focus on high yielding plant varieties and animal breeds has caused massive genetic erosion, due to the disappearance of many diverse populations of crops and animals maintained by farmers and adapted to local circumstances. In addition, large areas of rainforest, and concomitantly flora and fauna species, are disappearing as more land is needed for the production of animal feed and biofuels. Finally our food system is characterized by diet-related ill-health: over 1 billion people are overweight and many suffer from obesity-related diseases while also more than 1 billion people suffer from malnutrition and hunger. Lack of resources, environmental degradation and diet-related ill-health are just a few of the problems inherent to our food system. Other issues of concern are for instance food waste, climate change, soil degradation, competition over land use and large social inequalities in access to food.

Taking into account the challenge of feeding 2 billion more people by 2050, the current system of food provisioning seems to be heading for a catastrophe. This may indeed be true if we stick to business as usual or keep focussing on single challenges, as solutions for one problem may well lead to a worsening of other issues. Hence, the aforementioned challenges cannot be addressed as single issues, but need to be dealt with as an interrelated and mutually reinforcing set of challenges. Despite the gloomy picture, there is also reason to be hopeful: across the globe there are many examples emerging (initiated by farmers, consumers, retailers, food industries and/or NGOs) that (attempt to) address (several of) the aforementioned challenges.

This special issue would like to explore those solutions for more sustainable food supply chains and welcomes conceptual and theoretical contributions as well as original research papers on the subject. We are especially interested in papers of an integrative nature, exploring and examining the interrelated ecological, economic and social dimensions of sustainable food provisioning. Finally this special issue seeks a balanced contribution of papers from the global North and South.

Prof. Dr. Han Wiskerke
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs).


  • environmental sustainability
  • economic sustainability
  • socio-cultural sustainability
  • food chain
  • agriculture
  • food consumption
  • resource use efficiency
  • world population growth
  • diet
  • global food chains
  • local food networks

Published Papers (7 papers)

Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3747-3779; doi:10.3390/su6063747
Received: 21 April 2014; in revised form: 27 May 2014 / Accepted: 28 May 2014 / Published: 10 June 2014
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abstract graphic

by ,  and
Sustainability 2014, 6(2), 631-651; doi:10.3390/su6020631
Received: 31 October 2013; in revised form: 8 January 2014 / Accepted: 23 January 2014 / Published: 28 January 2014
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by , , , ,  and
Sustainability 2013, 5(11), 4797-4824; doi:10.3390/su5114797
Received: 10 September 2013; in revised form: 29 October 2013 / Accepted: 31 October 2013 / Published: 11 November 2013
Show/Hide Abstract | Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1124 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text

Sustainability 2013, 5(11), 4728-4759; doi:10.3390/su5114728
Received: 2 August 2013; in revised form: 15 October 2013 / Accepted: 25 October 2013 / Published: 7 November 2013
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by  and
Sustainability 2013, 5(11), 4778-4796; doi:10.3390/su5114778
Received: 29 August 2013; in revised form: 21 October 2013 / Accepted: 31 October 2013 / Published: 7 November 2013
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Sustainability 2013, 5(7), 3095-3115; doi:10.3390/su5073095
Received: 3 May 2013; in revised form: 21 June 2013 / Accepted: 3 July 2013 / Published: 17 July 2013
Show/Hide Abstract | Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (195 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text

Sustainability 2013, 5(3), 1234-1255; doi:10.3390/su5031234
Received: 3 December 2012; in revised form: 7 March 2013 / Accepted: 8 March 2013 / Published: 19 March 2013
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Last update: 11 April 2013

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