Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning (IFSTAL)

IFSTAL (Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning) is a cross-university, interdisciplinary food systems training programme for postgraduate students to address global food challenges.

There is an urgent need to train a cohort of professionals who can address and resolve the increasing number of fundamental failings in the global food system. The solutions to these systemic failings go far beyond the production of food and are embedded within broad political, economic, business, social, cultural, and environmental contexts. The challenge of developing efficient, socially acceptable, and sustainable food systems that meet the demands of a growing global population can only be tackled through an interdisciplinary systems approach that integrates social, economic, and environmental dimensions.

IFSTAL is designed to improve post-graduate level knowledge and understanding of food systems from a much broader interdisciplinary perspective, which can be applied to students’ studies. Ultimately, these graduates should be equipped to apply critical interdisciplinary systems thinking in the workplace to understand how problems are connected, their root causes, and where critical leverage points might be.

Led by the Food Systems Research Programme at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, IFSTAL is a pioneering consortium of institutions: Oxford University, Warwick University, Royal Veterinary College, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

Healthy, Sustainable Eating 101 (Clif bar website)

Clif Bar has a Nutrition Education Hub is filled with a variety of resources to help you discover easy ways to eat with nutrition and sustainability in mind. With actionable guidance, tips and tricks, and answers to your tough questions by their team of dietitians and expert advisors. Thoughtful choices about the foods we eat can support our health, the health of the planet, and the health of generations to follow.

Some Examples on their website include:

  • Webinar – Dietitians Driving Change: Navigating Healthy, Sustainable Diets (1 CEU) – Join registered dietitians Sharon Palmer and Clancy Cash Harrison to learn why sustainability should be a core part of every dietitian’s toolkit. Learn how to evaluate the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of food choices, and what you can do to lead the charge in making healthy, sustainable diets more accessible.
  • Webinar – Behind the Label: Sustainability Seals and Certification (1 CEU) – Third-party sustainability seals and certifications provide verified guidance allowing consumers to identify sustainable options more easily. This webinar provides an overview of commonly used seals and certifications and the criteria they represent. Dietitians can learn key strategies to help their clients make informed choices that can positively impact their health, the planet and the lives of the people who grow and make our food.
  • Article – Everything You Need To Know About Healthy, Sustainable Eating. By Kate Geagan, MS, RD, Clif Nutrition Advisory Council member. Clif Bar & Company recently brought together 20 leading voices in health and wellness (including registered dietitians) to talk about sustainable nutrition. And while each shared their unique perspective based on personal experiences and passions, common themes emerged when it came down to what constitutes a healthy, sustainable diet (and, just as importantly, how to put it into practice). One key takeaway? Good food has the power to nourish so much more than our bodies. Read on to learn more about what these influential voices had to say, including the “what”, “why” and “how” of healthy, sustainable eating made easy.
  • Article – How to Eat Well for People and the Planet – Food has the power to do more than fuel us. Thoughtful choices about the foods we choose can positively impact our health, the health of the planet, and the health of generations to follow. Clif Bar & Company asked 20 leading voices in health and wellness, including registered dietitians what it means to eat a healthy, sustainable diet. Here’s what they said.
  • Article – Packaging with Purpose – Our Commitment to Sustainable Packaging – Clif Bar has proudly signed the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Global Commitment to help create a world where plastic never becomes waste or pollution.That means, by 2025, 100% of their packaging will be reusable, recyclable, or compostable. See the link for more of the commitments that you can promote and encourage as well.
  • Article – Making it Better with Organic – At Clif Bar, our journey to use organic ingredients started in 2003. Since then, we’ve maintained our commitment to organic and use a majority of organic ingredients in our products. We’ve learned along the journey that organic can be a catalyst for good. It’s key to creating a healthier, more just, and sustainable food system for all of us, and organic food connects people to a healthy planet.

Agriculture, Food and Climate Action Toolkit (2023 Dec)

The Agriculture, Food and Climate Action Toolkit aims to help national policymakers translate global climate and food commitments into local actions directly supports the COP28 Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action. The opportunity for the Declaration’s signatories to translate their commitments into ambitious national-level action lies in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).

The toolkit is 40-pages and mentions nutrition throughout. Priority actions identified in the Toolkit include shifting to nature-positive food production, reducing and repurposing food loss and waste, and transitioning to nutritious and healthy diets. Only a combination of these actions will bring food-based greenhouse gas emissions within a 1.5 degrees Celsius carbon budget, and ensure that food producers can adapt to changes in what, where and how they can grow and harvest food.

It identifies six priorities for policymakers to incorporate in updated NDCs and NAPs, provides a series of case studies from countries already integrating food systems actions in their national climate plans, and gives an overview of existing resources that can enable the enhancement, replication and scaling of successful practices.

Although most countries have introduced at least one food-based measure in their NDCs and NAPs, many continue to face significant challenges in holistically integrating and implementing food system measures. Most countries focus on food production, with a limited number including actions on food loss and waste, and only a handful considering consumption and diets. By identifying good examples from different parts of the world, the toolkit will support policymakers in introducing additional measures that will deliver the most impact in their own context.

The COP28 Agriculture, Food and Climate Action Toolkit was produced by a taskforce – which included WWF, Global Alliance for the Future of Food, Climate Focus, NDC Partnership, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of United Nations, CGIAR and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT – convened by the UAE COP28 Presidency and will be a valuable resource for countries as they transform their food systems to both mitigate and adapt to climate change.

European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Food

EIT Food is an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), the mission is to transform how food is produced, distributed, and consumed and to increase its value to European society. They achieve this by solving the biggest innovation challenges through trusted industry, education and research partners working together with informed and engaged citizens. They believe inclusive systems innovation, which enables all people and places to participate and benefit, is essential to a strong food system that is better for everyone.

With teams on the ground across Europe, they bridge the gap between countries and regions with low innovation capacity and those leading the way. They put consumers at the heart of our work, helping build trust by reconnecting them to the origins of their food, directly involving them in the innovation process, and working with the food sector to increase transparency. Collaboration is central to all their work, which spans the whole food value chain, and is vital to meet the big challenges. Together with the community, they work to build an innovative and resilient food system that in turn creates a healthier society and planet.

Initiatives include:

  • EIT Food Educators that provides teachers with fun, creative and interesting activities to engage young people, mainly schoolchildren. Easily accessible, science-based food education materials enhance students’ learning so they can become better informed, conscious consumers of the future. The vision is a world where all young people have access to food education and are aware of exciting and innovative agrifood careers. The mission is to support educators to teach, engage and inspire young people about the food they eat and consider a career in agrifood.
  • EIT FoodUnfolded – Articles, videos and podcasts will take you on a journey through our food system, covering everything from where our food comes from and how it’s made, to the chemistry behind food and how it affects our bodies, to the impact that food production can have on people and the environment – and innovations and alternative practices that could help reduce that impact. Learning more about our food and its origins can deeply impact our food choices, the system our choices affect and, ultimately, help protect our planet. By bringing facts and stories to life, they hope to help you navigate these everyday decisions through knowledge. Together, we can transform the future of our food.
  • EIT FoodHIVE a network which is working together to make a more sustainable, healthy and trusted food system. Members range from leading businesses, research centres and universities, to food investors, mentors, students, startups and alumni. To bring this diverse community together, they have created FoodHIVE, a digital platform to share, network and collaborate.

Sustainable Food Systems Network (EUFIC)

European Food Information Council (EUFIC)‘s Global Sustainable Food Systems Network facilitates communication and collaboration amongst stakeholders in sustainable food systems (SFS) across the globe. In this community, you will find policy makers, business professionals, civil society organizations, researchers, NGOs/non-profit organizations, funding agencies and interested citizens. The network allows members to:

  • Add to and use the resources section
  • Reach out to members through the chat in a field/topic you are interested in. Network, ask questions, build bridges. Chat conversations are private and confidential!
  • Publish about events you are organizing regarding SFS (on average, 30-120 members attend events shared in the feed!)
  • Peruse the calendar of events shared by other members.
  • Share calls, documents, reports, papers, etc. that you think are interesting for the whole community.
  • Ask the community for feedback and start a conversation, e.g. by creating a poll!
  • Share job openings as “opportunities”. The network currently spans 2000+ people, and their personal networks spread much further.

The SFSN Community leaders send a biweekly newsletter with featured shared events, opportunities, posts, and new members for further dissemination.

If you have any feedback, questions or would like to get more involved, email sfsn@eufic.org or contact us directly through the chat (search Community Managers).

Global Food Systems Network Map

The Global Food Systems Network Map is a powerful online tool designed to visually represent the relationships among stakeholders involved in food systems-related efforts worldwide. 

Given the varied and dynamic nature of global food systems, it is often challenging to track projects and partners. This Network Map, created by Meridian Institute, aims to alleviate these challenges by illustrating the landscape of multi-stakeholder initiatives working across food systems, including what issues these initiatives are working on and how they are driving change.

This Network Map will help organizations working in food systems both identify opportunities for collaboration and gather insights on how to focus efforts and resources for maximum collective impact.

The Network Map is hosted on Kumu, an interactive network visualization tool. Learn more about how to navigate the Map here.

JHND Special Issue: Sustainable Food Systems and Dietary Patterns in Nutrition and Dietetic Practice (2023 Dec)

The British Dietetic Association’s Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics (JHND) published a Special Issue on Sustainable Food Systems and Dietary Patterns in Nutrition and Dietetic Practice edited by: Liesel Carlsson, Angela Madden, and Kalliopi-Anna Poulia (Volume 36, Issue 6, Pages: 2121-2350, December 2023).

Twelve of the sixteen articles are open access and cover a wide range of practice settings.

  • Open Access – Conceptualising sustainability in Canadian dietetic practice: A scoping review – Dietitians are well-positioned to promote sustainable food systems and diets. This research identifies practice activities described in the Canadian published literature and compares these with dietetic competency standards. Increasing practitioners’ ability to analyse issues using systems thinking will help address complex challenges. Updates to competency standards and curricular supports are needed to support this area of practice.
  • Open Access – Local food procurement by hospitals: a scoping review – There is a paucity of peer-reviewed studies describing local food procurement by hospitals. Details of local food procurement models were generally lacking: categorisable as either purchases made ‘on-contract’ via conventional means or ‘off-contract’. If hospital foodservices are to increase their local food procurement, they require access to a suitable, reliable and traceable supply, that acknowledges their complexity and budgetary constraints.

Sustainability and Food Insights Survey (USA, 2023)

Food + Planet‘s 2023 Sustainability and Food Insights Survey included 1,161 Registered Dietitians (RDs) across the USA and found the vast majority of RDs believe their profession should be involved in advocating for sustainable food systems, yet most do not feel confident in providing guidance, primarily due to lack of education and resources. The survey uncovered that sociocultural and planetary health aspects of sustainability ranked as top areas of opportunity for dietitians to deepen their knowledge.

Key Findings of the 2023 Sustainability and Food Insights Survey:

  • Over nine in 10 dietitians feel they should be involved in advocating for sustainability, yet close to half do not consistently incorporate sustainability into their work.
  • Nearly all dietitians report they have barriers for advancing sustainable food systems in their practice. The largest barriers cited were lack of access and affordability, followed by lack of knowledge, tools, and resources.
  • More than 2 out of 3 dietitians say they do not feel confident or feel neutral about providing sustainability guidance. Among areas of sustainability, RDs reported the least knowledge on agriculture practices and environmental impacts of foods; ethical labor, sourcing, and climate justice; soil health and biodiversity; and culturally inclusive guidance.
  • Most dietitians believe sustainability should be part of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • There is disparity among RDs’ beliefs on sustainable diet practices compared to evidence-based global food based dietary guidelines that incorporate sustainability.

Conclusions:

  • There is a major gap in sustainability education and knowledge in the field of nutrition.
  • Professional sustainability education is currently limited in quality and scope.
  • Opportunities for formal training need to be expanded.
  • Access and affordability are significant barriers for RDs to advance sustainability within their practice.
  • Views of sustainability priorities differ from that of global emerging consensus areas.
  • There is an urgent need to advocate for formal integration of SFS into the Dietary Guidelines.

This survey was conducted by Food + Planet in collaboration with Today’s Dietitian and Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. The survey may be used in print or online publications with attribution to Food + Planet, with the exception that it may not be used for commercial purposes without permission from Food + Planet.

Food + Planet was founded in 2020 by four registered dietitians: Sherene Chou, Kate Geagan, Sharon Palmer, and Chris Vogliano with an aim to empower healthcare professionals to be leaders in sustainable food systems.

Contact for Food + Planet:
Kate Geagan MS, RDN
(+1) 435-659-9386
Kate@FoodAndPlanet.org
www.FoodAndPlanet.org

Relevant resources in the ICDA SFS Toolkit:

From Plate To Planet (2023 Nov)

The IPES-Food report From Plate To Planet identifies inspiring examples of comprehensive food and climate action by city and regional governments drawn from Glasgow Declaration signatories. The report urges national governments to stop neglecting food systems in their climate pledges, and to pay attention to the pioneering emissions-slashing efforts of cities and regions.

Top line messages:

1 – We cannot limit global warming to 1.5C without much more urgent and far reaching action to transform food systems.

2 – Cities and regional governments are pioneering action on food and climate change – and the frontrunners are even linking up actions and measuring their progress. The report details dozens of inspiring examples and stories of effective on-the-ground action. They are cutting emissions by promoting healthy and sustainable diets, reducing food waste, shortening food chains, training organic farmers, and ensuring their poorest inhabitants can access healthy and sustainable food.

3 – Their actions to holistically reduce emissions from food systems and encourage healthy, sustainable food for all ​​provide a blueprint for action on food and climate. This blueprint is one in which social justice, participation, accountability are put at the heart of climate action.

4 – Such innovative action contrasts dramatically with weak and fragmented action on food and climate change by national governments – as shown by their inadequate national climate pledges submitted under the Paris Agreement [NDCs]. Despite contributing one third of global greenhouse gas emissions and using 15% of fossil fuels, food systems are routinely overlooked in climate negotiations and climate plans.

IPES-Food recommends:

  • National governments use the example of cities and regional governments as a blueprint for food and climate action – to inspire national food and climate policies.
  • Governments act in coordination with city and regional governments, and provide more funding to them to take action on food and climate change, scaling it out to every city and region.
  • Governments take the opportunity of the Paris Agreement stocktaking moment at COP28 to revise national climate commitments to systematically include food systems and local action.

WHY SHOULD WE PAY ATTENTION NOW?

  • Inspiring success stories show us what can and needs to be done
  • City and regional governments have continued to make progress in spite of mounting challenges
  • Local sustainable food strategies show a blueprint for climate action with accountability, social justice, and participation, at its heart
  • They’re working and they’re popular

FAST FACTS

Food systems are responsible for ⅓ of global greenhouse gas emissions:

  • 13% agriculture and livestock
  • 11% land-use change
  • 10% transport, processing, packaging, retail, and waste

Food system actions could drive major reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions:

  • 18% well-managed changes to production practices
  • 8% transitioning to sustainable diets and halving meat production and consumption
  • 8% halving food loss & waste

Local governments lead climate action

  • 18 national governments and the EU have declared a climate emergency, vs. 2,317 local and regional authorities.

Greenhouse gas emissions reductions committed by local and regional governments go 35% above and beyond those pledged by national governments.

Blue Foods as Medicine (2023 Oct)

Blue Foods as Medicine is a FREE, interactive, four-module online curriculum for health and nutrition professionals and students. The modules are 1: Blue Foods Foundation, 2: Sea Vegetables, 3: Bivalves, Clams, Oysters, Mussels; and 4: Integrating into Your Practice.

The modules are self-paced and evidence-based focused on actionable ways to implement concepts across a variety of settings. There are culturally diverse recipes & resources such as shopping guides, messaging tips, case studies, plus content and programming ideas.

The curriculum widens the food as medicine lens to include sustainability considerations and an array of aquatic foods. The content is open access and shareable, thoughtfully designed to advance your learning journey and drive positive community change.

Funded by Builders Initiative and created by Food for Climate League and Food + Planet.

For more on Blue Foods, see the #ICDAsfsToolkit Hot Topic Resource Cluster: Blue Foods.