Special Issue "Levering Sustainable Food Systems to Address Climate Change—Possible Transformations"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alison Blay-Palmer
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Guest Editor
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, 67 ErbWest, Waterloo ON Canada
Interests: sustainable food systems, climate change, city region food systems, biodiversity
Dr. Patricia Ballamingie
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Guest Editor
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University, Loeb B349, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6, Canada
Interests: sustainable food systems, deep adaptation to climate change, urban resilience, city region food systems
Dr. Irena Knezevic
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Guest Editor
School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University 1125 Colonel By Drive Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6, Canada
Interests: sustainable food systems, food and health communication, social and informal economy
Dr. Erin Nelson
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Guest Editor
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph, ON, Canada
Interests: sustainable food systems, agroecology, community development, knowledge networks
Dr. Andrew Spring
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Guest Editor
Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, Wilfrid Laurier University, 67 Erb West, Waterloo, ON, Canada
Interests: sustainable food systems, climate change, knowledge mobilization, biodiversity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The clock is ticking. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2018), we have until 2030 to enact unprecedented changes to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change and to adapt to unavoidable climate disruption already underway. To achieve this, global carbon emissions must reach net zero by 2050 (IPCC 2018). Research demonstrates that sustainable food systems offer many solutions to confront this climate crisis (IPCC 2019). This is a daunting task, requiring an overhaul of the existing industrially focused global food system that currently contributes up to 40% of GHG emissions. However, it is clear that while we have the tools to make this happen, there are many barriers to realizing these goals.

Evidence gleaned from multidisciplinary, community-engaged research points to the key role played by regionally focused food systems that are circular, biologically and culturally diverse, equitable, and deliberative to serve as levers for change (Qualman 2019; Blay-Palmer et al. 2018; Knezevic et al. 2017; Pimbert 2017; Jurgilevich et al. 2016). While these systems offer examples of how to deal with the climate emergency, it is also important to acknowledge the gaps that need to be filled and the structures that need to be dismantled and rebuilt to enable transformation. Part of the solution lies in enabling networks of communities and identifying how they can work together to build adaptable inclusivity and diversity that is grounded in principles of equity and deliberative decision-making (Holt-Giminez et al. 2012; Gibson-Graham et al. 2013; Blay-Palmer et al. 2015).

In this Special Issue, we are interested in papers that explore and discuss sustainable food systems as pathways to both mitigating and adapting to climate change and the gaps that must be confronted to bring about transformation, in particular papers focused on:

  • Agroecology;
  • Indigenous food systems;
  • Right to food;
  • Informal and social economies;
  • The role of place-based initiatives;
  • City region and/or territorial food systems;
  • Deep adaptations in food systems;
  • Communications and education to enable climate change;
  • Biocultural diversity.

While case studies and policy papers are welcome, papers describing existing transformations are of particular interest.

References

Blay-Palmer, A., Santini, G., Dubbeling, M., Renting, H., Taguchi, M. and Giordano, T. (2018). Validating the city region food system approach: Enacting inclusive, transformational city region food systems. Sustainability, 10(5), p.1680.

Blay-Palmer, A., Sonnino, R. and Custot, J., 2016. A food politics of the possible? Growing sustainable food systems through networks of knowledge. Agriculture and Human Values, 33(1), pp.27-43.

Gibson-Graham, J.K., Cameron, J. and Healy, S. (2013). Take back the economy: An ethical guide for transforming our communities. U of Minnesota Press.

Holt-Giménez, E., Shattuck, A., Altieri, M., Herren, H. and Gliessman, S., (2012). We already grow enough food for 10 billion people… and still can't end hunger.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (2019). Climate Change and Land. An IPCC Special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. Summary for Policymakers. Retrieved from: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/srccl/

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (2018). Global warming of 1.5°C: Summary for policymakers. Swirzerland: IPCC. Retrieved from: https://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/pdf/sr15_spm_final.pdf

Jurgilevich, A., Birge, T., Kentala-Lehtonen, J., Korhonen-Kurki, K., Pietik鋓nen, J., Saikku, L. and Schösler, H. (2016). Transition towards circular economy in the food system. Sustainability, 8(1), p.69.

Knezevic, I., Blay-Palmer, A., Levkoe, C.Z., Mount, P. and Nelson, E. (Eds.) (2017). Nourishing communities: From fractured food systems to transformative pathways. Springer.

Pimbert, M.P. (Ed.). (2017). Food sovereignty, agroecology and biocultural diversity: Constructing and contesting knowledge. New York, NY: Routledge.

Qualman, D. (2019). Civilization critical: Food, energy, nature and the future. Halifax: Fernwood Press.

Dr. Alison Blay-Palmer
Dr. Patricia Ballamingie
Dr. Irena Knezevic
Dr. Erin Nelson
Dr. Andrew Spring
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 1900 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

  • sustainable food systems
  • climate change
  • deep adaptation
  • circular
  • agroecology
  • biocultural diversity

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Special Issue “Levering Sustainable Food Systems to Address Climate Change (Pandemics and Other Shocks and Hazards): Possible Transformations”
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8206; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158206 - 22 Jul 2021
Viewed by 499
Abstract
Since we first conceived of this Special Issue, “Levering Sustainable Food Systems to Address Climate Change—Possible Transformations”, COVID-19 has turned the world upside down [...] Full article

Research

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Article
Towards Territorially Embedded, Equitable and Resilient Food Systems? Insights from Grassroots Responses to COVID-19 in Italy and the City Region of Rome
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2425; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052425 - 24 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1370
Abstract
The negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have further exposed and exacerbated the structural weaknesses and inequalities embedded in the global industrial agri-food system. While the mainstream narrative continues to emphasise the importance of ensuring the uninterrupted functioning of global supply chains to [...] Read more.
The negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have further exposed and exacerbated the structural weaknesses and inequalities embedded in the global industrial agri-food system. While the mainstream narrative continues to emphasise the importance of ensuring the uninterrupted functioning of global supply chains to counter COVID-related disruptions, the pandemic has also highlighted the resilience of small-scale, sustainable family farming and of spatially and socially embedded food systems. Based on a quantitative and qualitative analysis of three surveys, this study examines organic and agroecological farmers’ responses to the first COVID-related lockdown (March–May 2020) in Italy, as well as the responses of grassroots alternative food networks (AFN) in the city region of Rome. The results show how local grassroots action played a significant role in ensuring food access, provisioning, and distribution, often in the face of delayed or insufficient action of mainstream food system actors and institutions. These grassroots responses identify opportunities and barriers for agri-food system transformation away from neoliberal, market-based interventions and towards policies that support food sovereignty and democracy in the context of localised, agroecology-based and more resilient agri-food systems. Full article
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Article
Grassroots and Global Governance: Can Global–Local Linkages Foster Food System Resilience for Small Northern Canadian Communities?
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2415; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042415 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 903
Abstract
Communities in Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT) are at the forefront of the global climate emergency. Yet, they are not passive victims; local-level programs are being implemented across the region to maintain livelihoods and promote adaptation. At the same time, there is a recent [...] Read more.
Communities in Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT) are at the forefront of the global climate emergency. Yet, they are not passive victims; local-level programs are being implemented across the region to maintain livelihoods and promote adaptation. At the same time, there is a recent call within global governance literature to pay attention to how global policy is implemented and affecting people on the ground. Thinking about these two processes, we ask the question: (how) can global governance assist northern Indigenous communities in Canada in reaching their goals of adapting their food systems to climate change? To answer this question, we argue for a “community needs” approach when engaging in global governance literature and practice, which puts community priorities and decision-making first. As part of a collaborative research partnership, we highlight the experiences of Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation, located in Kakisa, NWT, Canada. We include their successes of engaging in global network building and the systemic roadblock of lack of formal land tenure. Moreover, we analyze potential opportunities for this community to engage with global governance instruments and continue connecting to global networks that further their goals related to climate change adaptation and food sovereignty. Full article

Review

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Review
City Region Food Systems: Building Resilience to COVID-19 and Other Shocks
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1325; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031325 - 27 Jan 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2010
Abstract
Using examples from the COVID-19 pandemic, this paper reviews the contribution a City Region Food Systems (CRFS) approach makes to regional sustainability and resilience for existing and future shocks including climate change. We include both explicit interventions under United Nations Food and Agriculture [...] Read more.
Using examples from the COVID-19 pandemic, this paper reviews the contribution a City Region Food Systems (CRFS) approach makes to regional sustainability and resilience for existing and future shocks including climate change. We include both explicit interventions under United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO-RUAF) led initiatives, as well as ad hoc efforts that engage with elements of the CRFS approach. To provide context, we begin with a literature review of the CRFS approach followed by an overview of the global food crisis, where we outline many of the challenges inherent to the industrial capital driven food system. Next, we elaborate three key entry points for the CRFS approach—multistakeholder engagement across urban rural spaces; the infrastructure needed to support more robust CRFS; system centered planning, and, the role of policy in enabling (or thwarting) food system sustainability. The pandemic raises questions and provides insights about how to foster more resilient food systems, and provides lessons for the future for the City Region Food System approach in the context of others shocks including climate change. Full article
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