Special Issue "Actor-oriented Research for Food Systems Redesign in Agroecological Perspective"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Corrado Ciaccia
Guest Editor
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA) – Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment, 00184 Rome, Italy
Interests: agroecology; organic farming; food system redesign; ecological weed management; participatory action research
Dr. Fabio Tittarelli
Guest Editor
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment, Via della Navicella 2-4, 00184 Rome, Italy
Interests: organic greenhouse production; agroecology; cropping system redesign; organic growing media

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Specialized, intensive agriculture, despite generally high productivity, has generated a variety of drawbacks for the environment and public health. These standardization trends reduce farmers’ ability to design tailored farming systems and the consequent optimization of local resource use. Moreover, current patterns of food production, distribution, and consumption are regarded as unable to fairly distribute added-value produce by agricultural activities and as destructive to natural resources and livelihoods in rural areas. If ecological, economic, and social sustainability is to be achieved, there is a need for urgent reform, moving away from the globally standardized approach of the current agriculture, toward a process of redesigning of food systems, driving into an effective change, from the local to the global scale. Due to the strong interdependence between production and consumption, this objective can be achieved by rethinking the role of all the actors of the agricultural sector (from producers to consumers) through transdisciplinary, participatory, and change-oriented research and action (agroecological approach). Actor-oriented, integrative, and participatory approaches of research could, therefore, be fundamental pillars to promote dynamic and properly oriented innovation processes. Organic farming, guaranteeing the respect of its fundamental principles of health, ecology, fairness, and care, represents the right context for actor-oriented research by incorporating agroecology into organic research, as the engine to promote food system sustainability.

In this Special Issue, we will explore specific ways in which actor-oriented research contributes to organic food system redesign toward sustainability. We seek contributions that accomplish this by focusing on the connections between different actors through action-research strategies as far as participatory multi-criteria analysis. We will also consider how consumer awareness strategies may affect the food system redesign, through a shift in consumption choices guided by the respect of the sustainable development of the local and global community.

Dr. Corrado Ciaccia
Dr. Fabio Tittarelli
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 1800 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.


  • Participatory action research (PAR)
  • co-research
  • multi-criteria assessment
  • agroecology
  • food system redesign
  • local food system
  • consumer awareness
  • food citizenship
  • food governance

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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