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Special Issue "Food and Cities - Understanding and Enhancing Agri-Food System Networks Decision-Making in the Face of Pandemics"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (18 June 2021) | Viewed by 8687

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Jorge Hernandez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Liverpool Management School, Liverpool L69 7ZH, UK
Interests: operations and supply chain management
Prof. Dr. Maria del Mar Alemany-Diaz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Universitat Politècnica de València, 46022 València, Valencia, Spain
Interests: operational research; supply chain modelling and optimization.
Dr. Peers Davies
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Reader in Livestock Health and Welfare, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Leahurst Campus, Neston CH64 7TE, UK
Interests: Livestock Health and Welfare
Lucana Agency for Development and Innovation in Agriculture, 75100 Matera MT, Italy
Interests: Sustainable Agri-food, Innovation and lifesciences
Dr. Alejandro Fernandez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Facultad de Informática, La Plata (1900), Buenos Aires, Argentina
Interests: intersection of computer supported collaborative work, knowledge management and software engineering
The Liverpool School of Architecture, University of Liverpool, Leverhulme Building, Liverpool, L69 7Z, UK
Interests: heritage sector; specializing in 20th-century architectural heritage; She currently researches historical perspectives of 20th-century architecture

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The global food system is under immediate threat with the UN warning against protectionist government policies towards staple food exports and restrictions on the movement of people leading to a shortage of agricultural workers (The Guardian, 2020). Increasingly urbanised living requires complex and lengthy food systems to get food from farm to the end-consumer. Enhancing food system resilience is critical to combating unexpected risks like Covid-19 to all supply chain stakeholders. Therefore, this Special Issue proposes a holistic approach to enhancing food systems resilience by the following: (i) drawing lessons from past supply chain disruptions relating to epidemics or pandemics that can be applied to the current Covid-19 pandemic, (ii) mapping current food systems to develop resilience indices and (iii) developing an appropriate risk and resilience communication tool. This Special Issue will focus on current food system challenges during pandemics, and will be oriented to cover the management, behaviour understanding and analysis of products like meat, dairy, cereal, fruit and vegetables in the agri-food value chains. Contributions are expected to be multidisciplinary and should provide insights into the following questions:

  1. How can we re-examine major historical disruptions to better understand past resilience strategies for responding and recovering quickly to food system shocks (focus on epidemics or pandemics from the past in any regional area)?
  2. How can we build an effective methodological tool that captures past experiences and leverages current conditions to better predict resilient strategies for people in future food systems?
  3. How can we better communicate food systems risk and resilience information to relevant people in the new digital age to raise societal awareness and engagement? (This contribution will take into considerations current restrictions, e.g., lockdowns, social distancing etc.)

Therefore, contributions are expected from, but are not limited to, the following areas:

  • Sustainable Food
  • Food supply chains
  • Resilient supply chains
  • Internationalisation strategies and food safety
  • Food security
  • Modelling and simulation in agri-food
  • Agro-biodiversity valorisation for sustainable vegetable production
  • Plant breeding and agronomy value chain analysis
  • Knowledge mobilisation model for agri-food value chains
  • multi-criteria decision-making analysis for agri-food climate change scenarios
  • Pest Management in Uncertain Climate in Agriculture system networks
  • Use of Smart technologies like IoT and blockchain in agri-food value chain networks
  • Managing food waste for sustainable Supply Chains
  • Risk assessment for agri-food system networks
  • Integrate agri-food productions into global climate change and sustainability challenges
  • Breeding challenges for species adaptation in order to enhance sustainable local agri-food value chains

Submission instructions

This is an open call for full papers where every international research community member is invited to submit. In addition, high-quality papers from the RUC-APS 2020 WORKSHOP will be selected by the Scientific Committee to be extended and submitted to this call, for review.

All contributions will be subjected to a single-blind review process. Manuscripts must be sent electronically to the Guest Editors and should be prepared according to the Sustainability Journal guidelines that can be found at

Dr. Jorge Hernandez
Prof. Dr. Maria del Mar Alemany-Diaz
Dr. Peers Davies
Dr. Rina Iannacone
Dr. Alejandro Fernandez
Dr. Christina Malathouni
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at 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. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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 thoroughly refereed through a single-blind 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 semimonthly 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 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Sustainable agri-food supply chains
  • Collaborative networks for sustainability
  • Use of smart ICT solutions for sustainable agri-food value chains
  • New trends in agronomy for enhancing agri-food value chains under high risk and uncertainty

Published Papers (1 paper)

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FoodSQRBlock: Digitizing Food Production and the Supply Chain with Blockchain and QR Code in the Cloud
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3486; - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 38 | Viewed by 7913
Food safety is an important issue in today’s world. The traditional agri-food production system does not offer easy traceability of the produce at any point of the supply chain, and hence, during a food-borne outbreak, it is very difficult to sift through food [...] Read more.
Food safety is an important issue in today’s world. The traditional agri-food production system does not offer easy traceability of the produce at any point of the supply chain, and hence, during a food-borne outbreak, it is very difficult to sift through food production data to track produce and the origin of the outbreak. In recent years, the blockchain based food production system has resolved this challenge; however, none of the proposed methodologies makes the food production data easily accessible, traceable and verifiable by consumers or producers using mobile/edge devices. In this paper, we propose FoodSQRBlock (Food Safety Quick Response Block), a blockchain technology based framework that digitises the food production information and makes it easily accessible, traceable and verifiable by the consumers and producers by using QR codes. We also propose a large-scale integration of FoodSQRBlock in the cloud to show the feasibility and scalability of the framework, as well as give an experimental evaluation to prove this. Full article
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