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Special Issue "Towards Sustainable Global Food Systems : Conceptual and Policy Analysis of Agriculture, Food and Environment Linkages"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018)

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Ruerd Ruben

Wageningen Economic Research, Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Phone: + 31-6-23.33.75.65
Interests: food systems, impact analysis, farm-household economics, value chains
Guest Editor
Dr. Jan Verhagen

Wageningen plant research, Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +31317480563
Interests: farming systems; climate change; agro-ecosystems; adaptation; sustainable development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the major knowledge challenges in the domain of Resilient and Sustainable Food Systems refers to the integration of perspectives on consumption, patterns that support public health, inclusive value chains and environmentally sustainable food production. While there is a long record of analysing separate interventions, this special issue generates integrated insights, provides cross-cutting perspectives and outlines practical and policy solutions that address these global challenges.

The collection of papers promotes the view that sustainable food systems requires thorough insights into the structure and dynamics of agro-food production systems, the drivers for integrating food value chains and markets, and key incentives for supporting healthier consumer choices. At the production side, potential linkages between agricultural commercialisation and intensification and their effects for food security and nutritional outcomes are analysed. Value Chains are assessed for their contribution to improving exchange networks and markets for food products that simultaneously support efficiency, circularity and responsiveness. Individual motives and market structures for food consumption need to be understood in order to be able to outline suitable incentives to enhance healthy dietary choice.

The contributed papers focus on interfaces between food system activities and processes of adaptive change that are critical for overcoming key constraints and trade-offs between sustainable food and healthy diets.

Prof. Dr. Ruerd Ruben
Dr. Jan Verhagen
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All papers will be 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 1700 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.

Keywords

  • Food Systems
  • Agriculture
  • Nutrition
  • Sustainability

Published Papers (18 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Does Agricultural Commercialization Affect Food Security: The Case of Crop-Producing Households in the Regions of Post-Reform Vietnam?
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1263; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051263
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 18 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 27 February 2019
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Abstract
Agricultural commercialization remains a widely pursued approach in development projects to improve food security in low-income countries, although there is no clear scientific evidence for it. This study examines the impact of agricultural commercialization on the food security status of crop-producing households in [...] Read more.
Agricultural commercialization remains a widely pursued approach in development projects to improve food security in low-income countries, although there is no clear scientific evidence for it. This study examines the impact of agricultural commercialization on the food security status of crop-producing households in the regions of Vietnam in the 1990s. We used the food system framework including output and input markets. We explore three indicators of commercialization: Cash crop production share (CCPS), crop output market participation share (COMPS), and crop input market participation share (CIMPS) based on fertilizer use. For food security, we looked at caloric intake and dietary diversity (Food Variety Score). We use a balanced panel data sample from the Vietnam Living Standards Survey (VLSS) of 1992/93 and 1997/98. We apply four specifications for all combinations of commercialization indicators and food security indicators for seven regions: OLS 1992/93, OLS 1997/98, pooled sample, and difference estimator. The results show that the effect of commercialization on food security is widely heterogeneous. It depends upon the commercialization indicator and the region in Vietnam. In general, there is no clear evidence for the direction of commercialization on either caloric intake or dietary diversity; however, it is clear that the impacts are generally more positive for southern regions than for northern regions of Vietnam. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Healthy Diets and Reduced Land Pressure: Towards a Double Gain for Future Food Systems in Nigeria
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 835; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030835
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 27 January 2019 / Accepted: 1 February 2019 / Published: 6 February 2019
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Abstract
Nigeria is one of the most dynamic economies in Africa. Strong GDP and population growth coupled with urbanization trends place tremendous pressures on natural resources and the food systems that are dependent on them. Understanding the impact of these “mega trends” is important [...] Read more.
Nigeria is one of the most dynamic economies in Africa. Strong GDP and population growth coupled with urbanization trends place tremendous pressures on natural resources and the food systems that are dependent on them. Understanding the impact of these “mega trends” is important to identify key leverage points for navigating towards improved nutrition and food security in Nigeria. This paper contributes to the Foresight Project of the Food Systems for Healthier Diets which aims to analyse how the food system in Nigeria is expected to transform in the next decades, and to identify the leverage points for making sure that the transformation contributes to balanced consumer diets. For the food systems foresight, a well-established global economy-wide model, MAGNET, is applied that enables to capture the interlinkages among different food industry players in one consistent framework. By linking MAGNET to the GENUS nutritional database, it is further possible to relate the developments occurring on a macro-level with detailed macro and micronutrient consumption. Model projections suggest that a process of intensification of agriculture in combination with land substitution appears critical for the evolution of food and nutrition security, and for shifts towards healthy diets for the population. Intensification results in greater diversity of the production systems, which in turn cascades into positive effects on the diversity in the food supply and better food security outcomes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Social Capital and Adoption of Alternative Conservation Agricultural Practices in South-Western Nigeria
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 716; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030716
Received: 29 September 2018 / Revised: 20 November 2018 / Accepted: 26 November 2018 / Published: 30 January 2019
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Abstract
The major concern of most African countries, including Nigeria, in recent times is how to increase food production because of food insecurity issues, which by extension, is a major contributing factor to the prevalence of poverty. Therefore, adoption of conservation agricultural practices is [...] Read more.
The major concern of most African countries, including Nigeria, in recent times is how to increase food production because of food insecurity issues, which by extension, is a major contributing factor to the prevalence of poverty. Therefore, adoption of conservation agricultural practices is regarded as a pathway to drive the achievement of food and nutrition security, as well as the needed optimal performance in the agri-food sector. Reportedly, scaling up of the limited adoption of these practices could be facilitated through kinship ties, peer influence, and social networks that govern mutual interactions among individuals; therefore, this motivated the study. Using cross-sectional data obtained from 350 sample units selected from South-Western Nigeria through a multistage sampling technique, this study applied descriptive statistical tools and cross-tabulation techniques to profile the sampled subjects while count outcome models were used to investigate the factors driving counts of conservative agriculture (CA) adoption. Similarly, a marginal treatment effects (MTEs) model (parametric approach) using local IV estimator was applied to examine the effects of CA adoption on the outcome (log of farmers’ farm income). Additionally, appropriate measures of fit tests statistics were used to test the reliabilities of the fitted models. Findings revealed that farmers’ years of farming experience (p < 0.1), frequency of extension visits (p < 0.05), and social capital viz-a-viz density of social group memberships (p < 0.05) significantly determined the count of CA practices adopted with varying degrees by smallholder farmers. Although, social capital expressed in terms of membership of occupational group and diversity of social group members also had a positive influence on the count of CA practices adopted but not significant owing largely to the “information gaps” about agricultural technologies in the study area. However, the statistical tests of the MTEs indicated that the treatment effects differed significantly across the covariates and it also varied significantly with unobserved heterogeneity. The policy relevant treatment effect estimates also revealed that different policy scenarios could increase or decrease CA adoption, depending on which individuals it induces to attract the expected spread and exposure. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Systems Approach to Food Loss and Solutions: Understanding Practices, Causes, and Indicators
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 579; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030579
Received: 30 November 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 January 2019 / Published: 22 January 2019
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Abstract
Reasons behind food loss can be very specific for each product and supply chain stage but it is also affected by factors independent of the product and stage. This work focuses on such generic factors and develops a framework to analyze food loss [...] Read more.
Reasons behind food loss can be very specific for each product and supply chain stage but it is also affected by factors independent of the product and stage. This work focuses on such generic factors and develops a framework to analyze food loss as a systemic outcome. The framework highlights the interconnected nature of problem across supply chain stages and therefore emphasizes the need to look at the whole system instead of specific stages, when proposing solutions. Practices and underlying causes contributing to food loss are identified for each stage of the supply chain using a literature search. Deductive logic is used to fill the gaps where literature was found to be scarce, and to derive socio-economic indicators that signal the presence of identified causes. Using this framework, we propose a non-exhaustive list of 30 socio-economic indicators, which can signal the presence of the 22 practices and 60 causes associated with food loss in supply chains. This list can serve as a starting list for practitioners and policymakers to build on when analyzing food losses in supply chains in their region. We evaluate the framework using a field-study of a tomato supply chain in Nigeria, and conclude that it can be a useful tool to identify practices, causes, and indicators of food loss. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Approach for Designing Context-Specific, Locally Owned Interventions to Reduce Postharvest Losses: Case Study on Tomato Value Chains in Nigeria
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010247
Received: 29 November 2018 / Revised: 19 December 2018 / Accepted: 31 December 2018 / Published: 7 January 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (569 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Development projects on interventions to reduce postharvest losses (PHL) are often implemented largely independently of the specific context and without sufficient adaptation to the needs of people who are supposed to use them. An approach is needed for the design and implementation of [...] Read more.
Development projects on interventions to reduce postharvest losses (PHL) are often implemented largely independently of the specific context and without sufficient adaptation to the needs of people who are supposed to use them. An approach is needed for the design and implementation of specific, locally owned interventions in development projects. Our approach is based on Participatory Development and includes Living Lab and World Cafés. We applied the approach in a case study on reducing PHL in tomato value chains in Nigeria. The approach consists of nine steps. After scoping the sector, selected value chain stakeholders (case: farmers, transporters, traders, retailers) were gathered in Living Lab workshops. In the workshop, participants analyzed the product, information, and monetary flows in their own value chain, identified causes for PHL, and selected potential interventions to reduce these (case: plastic crates instead of raffia baskets to transport tomatoes). Selected interventions were implemented, tested, and monitored in pilot projects with the workshop participants. This was followed by an evaluation workshop. At the end of the case study, 89% of participants bought crates to keep using them in their value chain. Our approach resulted in context-specific, locally owned interventions to reduce PHL in the case study on tomato value chains in Nigeria. Its application in other countries, commodities, or interventions is needed to determine the effectiveness of the approach in a broader scope. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Challenge of Food Systems Research: What Difference Does It Make?
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010171
Received: 30 November 2018 / Revised: 23 December 2018 / Accepted: 23 December 2018 / Published: 31 December 2018
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Abstract
Recent discussions on the results of food security programs devote key attention to complex interactions between policy interventions and business innovation for improving nutrition outcomes. This shift from linear approaches of food and nutrition security towards a more interlinked and nested analysis of [...] Read more.
Recent discussions on the results of food security programs devote key attention to complex interactions between policy interventions and business innovation for improving nutrition outcomes. This shift from linear approaches of food and nutrition security towards a more interlinked and nested analysis of food systems dynamics has profound implications for the design and organization of research and innovation processes. In this article we outline our experience with interdisciplinary and interactive processes of food systems analysis at different scale levels, paying systematic attention to three critical system interfaces: intersections with other systems, interactions within the food system, and incentives for food system innovations (the so-called: 3I approach). We discuss the importance of these interfaces for leveraging food system adaptation and managing food system transformation. We also provide illustrative examples of the relevance of food systems analysis for the identification of appropriate and effective programs for reinforcing the resilience, responsiveness and inclusiveness of novel food and nutrition programs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Reflection of the Use of the Life Cycle Assessment Tool for Agri-Food Sustainability
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010071
Received: 11 October 2018 / Revised: 19 December 2018 / Accepted: 20 December 2018 / Published: 23 December 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (504 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In pursuit of agricultural sustainability and food security, research should contribute to policy-making by providing scientifically robust evidence. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is an excellent candidate for generating that evidence, thereby helping the selection of interventions towards more sustainable agri-food. The purpose of [...] Read more.
In pursuit of agricultural sustainability and food security, research should contribute to policy-making by providing scientifically robust evidence. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is an excellent candidate for generating that evidence, thereby helping the selection of interventions towards more sustainable agri-food. The purpose of this article is proposing a basis for discussion on the use of the LCA tool for targeting and monitoring of environmental policy interventions in agri-food. The problem of reducing the environmental burden in agri-food can be tackled by acting on the supply and/or demand sides and may benefit from the collaboration of supply chain stakeholders. Agri-food policies that most benefit from LCA-based data concern cross-border pollution, transaction costs following the adoption of environmental standards, adoption of less polluting practices and/or technologies, and business-to-consumer information asymmetry. The choice between the methodological options available for LCA studies (attributional, consequential, or hybrid models) depends on the purpose and scope of the study. The possibility of integrating the LCA with economic and social impact assessments—e.g., under the life cycle sustainability assessment framework—makes LCA an excellent tool for monitoring business or sectoral-level achievements with respect to UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Drivers of Vegetable Consumption in Urban Nigeria: Food Choice Motives, Knowledge, and Self-Efficacy
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4771; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124771
Received: 27 November 2018 / Revised: 9 December 2018 / Accepted: 11 December 2018 / Published: 14 December 2018
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Abstract
Objective: This study aimed to provide insights into vegetable consumption behavior of urban Nigerian consumers across different Socio-Economic Classes (SEC), their main food choice motives, and the associations of these motives and other drivers with vegetable consumption. Methods: An online survey was conducted [...] Read more.
Objective: This study aimed to provide insights into vegetable consumption behavior of urban Nigerian consumers across different Socio-Economic Classes (SEC), their main food choice motives, and the associations of these motives and other drivers with vegetable consumption. Methods: An online survey was conducted in which 1220 women from Lagos (N = 808) and Ibadan (N = 412) metropolis from different SEC participated. Results: On average, respondents reported to consume 2.6 portions of vegetables per day. Most vegetables were bought at open and traditional markets, were bought fresh rather than processed, and were consumed cooked. Respondents from the second richest and upper middle SEC consumed most vegetables () and higher SEC consumed a larger variety of vegetables compared to those from lower classes. Respondents who reported to have a higher knowledge of vegetable consumption, had a higher belief in one’s own ability to prepare vegetables (self-efficacy), and those that valued the food motive Mood and Health more, reported a higher vegetable intake. Conclusions: Vegetable consumption in the studied cities in Nigeria was below recommendations. Increasing knowledge and self-efficacy might be a way to increase consumption, especially in combination with interventions in the food environment and product design focused on the motives Health and Mood, and considering the importance of differences between SEC. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Capturing Social Innovations in Agricultural Transformation from the Field: Outcomes of a Write-Shop
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4727; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124727
Received: 26 September 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 9 December 2018 / Published: 12 December 2018
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Abstract
The aim of this project was to explore the theme of social innovation for nutrition-sensitive and sustainable agriculture, resulting in examples of improved production and consumption of nutritious food. Social innovation refers to the generation and implementation of new ideas about how people [...] Read more.
The aim of this project was to explore the theme of social innovation for nutrition-sensitive and sustainable agriculture, resulting in examples of improved production and consumption of nutritious food. Social innovation refers to the generation and implementation of new ideas about how people organize interpersonal activities, or social interactions, to meet one or more common goals and in the process change basic routines, resources, and decision-making processes. In the country context of Myanmar, this research aimed to capture a variety of social innovation cases related to processes of agricultural transformation. Through the method of a collaborative case study write-shop, Myanmar-specific social innovations were identified, illustrating various forms of social innovation across the cases with citizen engagement processes. The write-shop method, in combination with the embedded expertise of development practitioners, proved to be a promising approach to identify niche innovations, distil insights, reframe actions, and promote critical thinking among different actors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Farmers’ Adaptive Strategies in Balancing Commercial Farming and Consumption of Nutritious Foods: Case Study of Myanmar
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4721; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124721
Received: 27 September 2018 / Revised: 4 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 11 December 2018
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Abstract
Food systems undergo rapid changes in response to economic and market forces, and environmental and dietary changes. This study aimed to disentangle adaptation strategies in farm households balancing interests in the commercial aspects of farming and the consumption of nutritious foods. The area [...] Read more.
Food systems undergo rapid changes in response to economic and market forces, and environmental and dietary changes. This study aimed to disentangle adaptation strategies in farm households balancing interests in the commercial aspects of farming and the consumption of nutritious foods. The area of interest was Central Myanmar, Pakokku region. A literature-based framework was used to identify entry points for adaptation strategies at the farm household level. A purposive sampling strategy was used to select smallholders (<5 acres), engaged in market-oriented agriculture (≥10 years). In 14 households, in-depth interviews were conducted, using a life course perspective depicting the household history in relation to agricultural developments and household food and nutrition security. The narratives of smallholders confirmed that household food and nutrition security was grounded in mixed livelihood strategies, including migration. Diet quality depended largely on income. Supportive strategies were a frugal lifestyle, responsible use of resources, participation in community activities, and different forms of social innovation. The study shows how the understanding of local diets provides insights in entry points for nutrition-sensitive agriculture, and suggests a need for alternative adaptation strategies, replacing those promoting specialization and intensification, for more holistic solutions that reinforce the flexibility and resilience of farmers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Participative Processes as a Chance for Developing Ideas to Bridge the Intention-Behavior Gap Concerning Sustainable Diets
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4434; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124434
Received: 30 September 2018 / Revised: 20 November 2018 / Accepted: 23 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
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Abstract
Sustainable diets are drivers and results of sustainable food systems. Therefore, they are crucial for improving our global diet-related problems. When trying to adopt sustainable diets, people often struggle with the gap between their good intentions and their actual behavior. Here we see [...] Read more.
Sustainable diets are drivers and results of sustainable food systems. Therefore, they are crucial for improving our global diet-related problems. When trying to adopt sustainable diets, people often struggle with the gap between their good intentions and their actual behavior. Here we see a need for support. To understand people’s needs and what could help them, it stands to reason that they can be directly involved in the development processes for appropriate ideas. On that account, we conducted six workshops in different German cities from September to December 2016 with 82 participants in total. We collected data by letting participants generate ideas to bridge the intention-behavior gap. The qualitative data was then coded in internal (168) and external factors (989). Analyzing data shows that the higher numbers of external factors offer a wider range of aspects that contribute to closing the intention-behavior gap from the participant’s point of view. We discuss whether the external factors such as availability, advertising, pricing, and education about food and nutrition may be a prerequisite for a broad mass of people to practice a more sustainable diet. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Intensification and Upgrading Dynamics in Emerging Dairy Clusters in the East African Highlands
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4324; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114324
Received: 10 October 2018 / Revised: 12 November 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
Based on farmer and value chain actor interviews, this comparative study of five emerging dairy clusters elaborates on the upgrading of farming systems, value chains, and context shapes transformations from semi-subsistent to market-oriented dairy farming. The main results show unequal cluster upgrading along [...] Read more.
Based on farmer and value chain actor interviews, this comparative study of five emerging dairy clusters elaborates on the upgrading of farming systems, value chains, and context shapes transformations from semi-subsistent to market-oriented dairy farming. The main results show unequal cluster upgrading along two intensification dimensions: dairy feeding system and cash cropping. Intensive dairy is competing with other high-value cash crop options that resource-endowed farmers specialize in, given conducive support service arrangements and context conditions. A large number of drivers and co-dependencies between technical, value chain, and institutional upgrading build up to system jumps. Transformation may take decades when market and context conditions remain sub-optimal. Clusters can be expected to move further along initial intensification pathways, unless actors consciously redirect course. The main theoretical implications for debate about cluster upgrading are that co-dependencies between farming system, market, and context factors determine upgrading outcomes; the implications for the debate about intensification pathways are that they need to consider differences in farmer resource endowments, path dependency, concurrency, and upgrading investments. Sustainability issues for consideration include enabling a larger proportion of resource-poor farmers to participate in markets; enabling private input and service provision models; attention for food safety; and climate smartness. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security of the EU Food System—An Integrated Approach
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4271; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114271
Received: 29 September 2018 / Revised: 2 November 2018 / Accepted: 13 November 2018 / Published: 19 November 2018
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Abstract
Steering the EU food system towards a sustainability transformation requires a vast and actionable knowledge base available to a range of public and private actors. Few have captured this complexity by assessing food systems from a multi-dimensional and multi-level perspective, which would include [...] Read more.
Steering the EU food system towards a sustainability transformation requires a vast and actionable knowledge base available to a range of public and private actors. Few have captured this complexity by assessing food systems from a multi-dimensional and multi-level perspective, which would include (1) nutrition and diet, environmental and economic outcomes together with social equity dimensions and (2) system interactions across country, EU and global scales. This paper addresses this gap in food systems research and science communication by providing an integrated analytical approach and new ways to communicate this complexity outside science. Based on a transdisciplinary science approach with continuous stakeholder input, the EU Horizon2020 project ‘Metrics, Models and Foresight for European SUStainable Food And Nutrition Security’ (SUSFANS) developed a five-step process: Creating a participatory space; designing a conceptual framework of the EU food system; developing food system performance metrics; designing a modelling toolbox and developing a visualization tool. The Sustainable Food and Nutrition-Visualizer, designed to communicate complex policy change-impacts and trade-off questions, enables an informed debate about trade-offs associated with options for change among food system actors as well as in the policy making arena. The discussion highlights points for further research related to indicator development, reach of assessment models, participatory processes and obstacles in science communication. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Participatory Guarantee Systems in Spain: Motivations, Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities for Improvement Based on Three Case Studies
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4081; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114081
Received: 18 September 2018 / Revised: 15 October 2018 / Accepted: 31 October 2018 / Published: 7 November 2018
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Abstract
The increasing number of producers and consumers of organic products means that there is an increasing need to guarantee the organic characteristics of organic products. Certification is a tool that bridges the information deficit between demand and supply, ensuring that a product complies [...] Read more.
The increasing number of producers and consumers of organic products means that there is an increasing need to guarantee the organic characteristics of organic products. Certification is a tool that bridges the information deficit between demand and supply, ensuring that a product complies with the specified standards. Third-party certification (TPC) is the main tool for assessing compliance today. However, there have been criticisms about the suitability of TPC for small-scale producers and alternative certification systems have been developed, such as Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS). PGS are quality assurance systems in which stakeholders are expected to be involved and assure the quality claims being made by producers. This paper presents three PGS initiatives in Spain. The research methods used in this study were semi-structured and structured interviews. Interviewees felt that their PGS initiatives fulfilled the important motivations of building a community and adding value to their products. The main challenges mentioned were the participation of stakeholders and the efficiency of internal organization. The absence of official recognition for PGS in Spain and insufficient dissemination were also perceived as challenges. Although PGS has the potential for further development in Spain, the interviewees believed that more support and official recognition were still required. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Scaling-Up Sustainable Development Initiatives: A Comparative Case Study of Agri-Food System Innovations in Brazil, New York, and Senegal
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4057; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114057
Received: 2 October 2018 / Revised: 25 October 2018 / Accepted: 29 October 2018 / Published: 6 November 2018
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Abstract
To effectively address the sustainability crises our planet faces, decision-makers at different levels of government worldwide will have to get a handle on three key challenges: learning from Global North and South initiatives in tandem, taking stock of social innovations alongside technological fixes, [...] Read more.
To effectively address the sustainability crises our planet faces, decision-makers at different levels of government worldwide will have to get a handle on three key challenges: learning from Global North and South initiatives in tandem, taking stock of social innovations alongside technological fixes, and nurturing grassroots sustainable development initiatives next to, or in place of, top-down corporate and government interventions. Current scientific literature and grant-making institutions have often reinforced the compartmentalized fashion in which we learn and draw policy lessons from North/South, social/technical, and bottom-up/top-down sustainability initiatives, including local food system innovations. The strategic levers for global sustainable development lying in-between are thus left out. This paper uses exploratory, multiple case study analysis to address this omission. By concurrently drawing lessons from grassroots innovations in Brazil, New York, and Senegal—three profoundly different socioeconomic and geographic contexts—we identify common pressure points that have enabled local communities to drive system-wide transformations toward climate adaptation, resilience, and sustainability in the agri-food system. The findings of this paper would be of value to scholars, government officials, and community groups engaged in agri-food systems sustainability and interested in the processes of change that have allowed budding innovations to stabilize and scale up. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Strategy for the Sustainability of a Food Production System for the Prosperity of Low-Income Populations in an Emerging Country: Twenty Years of Experience of the Peruvian Poultry Association
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4035; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114035
Received: 29 September 2018 / Revised: 25 October 2018 / Accepted: 30 October 2018 / Published: 3 November 2018
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Abstract
This research shows a business initiative that has been able to integrate into an environmentally sustainable food production system, such as poultry farming, a positive impact on food security and public health patterns of low-income populations in an emerging country. For a process [...] Read more.
This research shows a business initiative that has been able to integrate into an environmentally sustainable food production system, such as poultry farming, a positive impact on food security and public health patterns of low-income populations in an emerging country. For a process that took 20 years, the adopted strategy has become a positive experience of sustainability and prosperity in low-income populations in Peru. The objective of the research is to conceptualize and identify the key elements of this experience so that its replication in other food production systems to impact favorably the prosperity of such vulnerable population. The Working With People (WWP) model, a validated methodology for analyzing the sustainability and prosperity of rural areas in Europe, is used for the analysis of this experience. The analysis shows that the presence of the three dimensions of this model (political-contextual, technical-business, and ethical-social) ensure the sustainability of a food production system that has an impact on the prosperity of low-income populations in emerging countries. This balance is important to enrich the connections between sustainability and prosperity, with other concepts such as core values in companies, public-private cooperation, food safety, inclusion and consumption patterns. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Offshore Wind Farms as Potential Locations for Flat Oyster (Ostrea edulis) Restoration in the Dutch North Sea
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3942; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113942
Received: 29 August 2018 / Revised: 22 October 2018 / Accepted: 24 October 2018 / Published: 30 October 2018
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Abstract
The “Dutch Energy Agreement” motivates governments and industries to invest in renewable energy sources, of which offshore wind energy is one of the solutions to meet the agreed target of 16% of the total energy budget from renewable resources by 2023. An option [...] Read more.
The “Dutch Energy Agreement” motivates governments and industries to invest in renewable energy sources, of which offshore wind energy is one of the solutions to meet the agreed target of 16% of the total energy budget from renewable resources by 2023. An option for the multi-use of wind farms is nature-inclusive building, in which the design and construction of wind farms make use of the potential for co-design with oyster bed restoration. This can support the government’s ambitions, for the Dutch North Sea, to achieve biodiversity goals, restore ecosystem functions, and enhance ecosystem services, including future seafood production. For the recovery of flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) beds, knowledge is required about the conditions under which active restoration of this species in the North Sea can be successfully implemented. This paper gives a framework and presents results to determine suitability of wind farms for flat oyster restoration, and provides recommendations for pilot studies. Our analysis showed that a number of wind farms in the Dutch section of the North Sea are suitable locations for development of flat oyster beds. Combining oyster restoration and oyster culture, as a protein source, is a viable option worth investigating. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Macroeconomic Impacts of Climate Change Driven by Changes in Crop Yields
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3673; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103673
Received: 10 September 2018 / Revised: 5 October 2018 / Accepted: 10 October 2018 / Published: 14 October 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2639 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Changes in agricultural yields due to climate change will affect land use, agricultural production volume, and food prices as well as macroeconomic indicators, such as GDP, which is important as it enables one to compare climate change impacts across multiple sectors. This study [...] Read more.
Changes in agricultural yields due to climate change will affect land use, agricultural production volume, and food prices as well as macroeconomic indicators, such as GDP, which is important as it enables one to compare climate change impacts across multiple sectors. This study considered five key uncertainty factors and estimated macroeconomic impacts due to crop yield changes using a novel integrated assessment framework. The five factors are (1) land-use change (or yield aggregation method based on spatially explicit information), (2) the amplitude of the CO2 fertilization effect, (3) the use of different climate models, (4) socioeconomic assumptions and (5) the level of mitigation stringency. We found that their global impacts on the macroeconomic indicator value were 0.02–0.06% of GDP in 2100. However, the impacts on the agricultural sector varied greatly by socioeconomic assumption. The relative contributions of these factors to the total uncertainty in the projected macroeconomic indicator value were greater in a pessimistic world scenario characterized by a large population size, low income, and low yield development than in an optimistic scenario characterized by a small population size, high income, and high yield development (0.00%). Full article
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