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.

Food Systems (One Earth Journal by Cell Press)

Access to food is a universal need and a fundamental right, yet current patterns of production and consumption are failing to address issues of food security while simultaneously deteriorating planetary health. In recognition of the urgent need to transform the way we consume, produce, and think about food, this collection of opinion pieces, authoritative reviews, original research articles, and artwork outlines the complexity of the challenge as well as potential solutions towards sustainable food systems for all. You can use the search feature to filter for Open Access Articles.

One Earth is Cell Press’ flagship sustainability journal. One Earth provides a home for high-quality research and perspectives that significantly advance our ability to better understand and address today’s sustainability challenges. We publish monthly thematic issues that aspire to break down barriers between the natural, social and applied sciences and the humanities, stimulate the cross-pollination of ideas, and encourage transformative research. They particularly encourage submissions with cross-disciplinary interest. Studies can be conducted at all spatial, temporal, and socio-political scales, but all submissions must offer a significant conceptual advance.

Solving the Great Food Puzzle: Right Innovation, Right Impact, Right Place. (2023)

WWF (2023). Solving the Great Food Puzzle: Right Innovation, Right Impact, Right Place. Loring, P., Loken, B., Meyer, M., Polack, S., Paolini, A., et al. WWF, Gland, Switzerland

Our food systems are at the centre of some of the biggest challenges of our time, which means they must also be at the centre of our quest for solutions.

As we work to solve the Great Food Puzzle, innovations are key to unlocking the potential of food systems as solutions to the nature and climate crises.

On its own, innovation won’t be enough to achieve healthy diets from sustainable food systems for all; still, innovations can accelerate national-level food system transformation by helping to close three critical gaps that can hinder action in countries. These gaps are: (i) the ambition gap; (ii) the transformation gap; and (iii) the implementation gap.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution that can deliver the food systems transformations needed in all countries around the world. The Right Innovation, Right Impact, Right Place framework will help anyone designing or supporting innovations in food systems to build an innovation toolkit to maximize impact and achieve national-level health and environmental goals.

Ultimately and most importantly, who is at the table and who is empowered to take the lead matters. What makes this paper novel is the set of concepts and questions we have assembled and how we bring these to life with examples of a wide range of innovations from around the world, some novel and highly technological, others familiar but applied in creative new ways.

As we all work to solve the Great Food Puzzle, we hope the Right Innovation, Right Impact, Right Place framework presented in this study will help ensure that each action taken will have the most impact in the shortest time possible.

RIGHT INNOVATION
means choosing innovations that amplify the impacts of transformation levers and ideally can be applied to affect one or more levers to accelerate change.

RIGHT IMPACT
means anticipating the kind of change and impact any proposed innovation might have in a particular place.

RIGHT PLACE
means paying close attention to the social and ecological context in which the innovation is to be implemented.

Measurement of diets that are healthy, environmentally sustainable, affordable, and equitable: A scoping review of metrics, findings, and research gaps (2023 Apr)

Citation: Webb P, Livingston Staffier K, Lee H, Howell B, Battaglia K, Bell BM, Matteson J, McKeown NM, Cash SB, Zhang FF, Decker Sparks JL and Blackstone NT (2023) Measurement of diets that are healthy, environmentally sustainable, affordable, and equitable: A scoping review of metrics, findings, and research gaps. Front. Nutr. 10:1125955. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2023.1125955

Introduction: Research on the impacts of dietary patterns on human and planetary health is a rapidly growing field. A wide range of metrics, datasets, and analytical techniques has been used to explore the role of dietary choices/constraints in driving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, environmental degradation, health and disease outcomes, and the affordability of food baskets. Many argue that each domain is important, but few have tackled all simultaneously in analyzing diet-outcome relationships.

Methods: This paper reviews studies published between January 2015 and December 2021 (inclusive) that examined dietary patterns in relation to at least two of the following four thematic pillars: (i) planetary health, including, climate change, environmental quality, and natural resource impacts, (ii) human health and disease, (iii) economic outcomes, including diet cost/affordability, and (iv) social outcomes, e.g., wages, working conditions, and culturally relevant diets. We systematically screened 2,425 publications by title and abstract and included data from 42 eligible publications in this review.

Results: Most dietary patterns used were statistically estimated or simulated rather than observed. A rising number of studies consider the cost/affordability of dietary scenarios in relation to optimized environmental and health outcomes. However, only six publications incorporate social sustainability outcomes, which represents an under-explored dimension of food system concerns.

Discussion: This review suggests a need for (i) transparency and clarity in datasets used and analytical methods; (ii) explicit integration of indicators and metrics linking social and economic issues to the commonly assessed diet-climate-planetary ecology relationships; (iii) inclusion of data and researchers from low- and middle-income countries; (iv) inclusion of processed food products to reflect the reality of consumer choices globally; and (v) attention to the implications of findings for policymakers. Better understanding is urgently needed on dietary impacts on all relevant human and planetary domains simultaneously.

The Supplementary Material for this article can be found online at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2023.1125955/full#supplementary-material

*Correspondence: Patrick Webb, patrick.webb@tufts.edu

Aquaculture Stewardship Council (Website)

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is the world’s leading certification scheme for farmed seafood – known as aquaculture – and the ASC label only appears on food from farms that have been independently assessed and certified as being environmentally and socially responsible. Aquaculture produces over half of the seafood eaten around the world and will be vital in providing healthy, affordable protein to the world’s rapidly growing population in the future. But like all food production, it has impacts and must be done responsibly.

ASC develops and manages the strictest standards in the industry. These standards include hundreds of requirements covering the potential impacts of aquaculture – including water quality, responsible sourcing of feed, disease prevention, animal welfare, the fair treatment and pay of workers, and maintaining positive relationships with neighbouring communities.

The ASC Metrics Methodology project to creates transparency and consistency into the ‘metric’ standard-setting. The ‘Baseline’ Methodology published in November 2020 was issued for a 62-day public consultation period. It is applicable to all species-specific metrics and aims to provide minimum requirements for setting and/or revising metrics within any of the ASC standards.

Click here to find a farm, supplier, or product around the globe. You’ll also be able to access ASC country / regional websites from this link as well.

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) was launched in 2010 and we have been collecting data since the first farms achieved certification against our standards in 2012. You can visit their dashboard to see what countries are covered and how many frames and products are included. This provide an important picture of ASC’s growth, the reach of environmentally and socially responsible seafood choices, and inform market opportunities. Aggregated data are often used by stakeholders in their own research and understanding on responsible farming practices.

Click here to explore the database via the ASC dashboard.

Updated 2023 April