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)

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.

Centering Equity in Sustainable Food Systems Education (2021)

Sustainable food systems education (SFSE) is rapidly advancing to meet the need for developing future professionals who are capable of effective decision-making regarding agriculture, food, nutrition, consumption, and waste in a complex world. Equity, particularly racial equity and its intersectional links with other inequities, should play a central role in efforts to advance SFSE given the harmful social and environmental externalities of food systems and ongoing oppression and systemic inequities such as lack of food access faced by racialized and/or marginalized populations. However, few institutional and intra-disciplinary resources exist on how to engage students in discussion about equity and related topics in SFSE.

This article presents perspectives based on multi-institutional collaborations to develop and apply pedagogical materials that center equity while building students’ skills in systems thinking, critical reflection, and affective engagement. Examples are provided of how to develop undergraduate and graduate sustainable food systems curricula that embrace complexity and recognize the affective layers, or underlying experiences of feelings and emotions, when engaging with topics of equity, justice, oppression, and privilege.

This work is part of the “Teaching Food Systems CoP” which was launched in 2016 by faculty members at Columbia University, in collaboration with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History, in parallel with the redesign of an undergraduate food systems course. The goals of the CoP are to convene academics and practitioners focused on SFSE, to: (1) support and grow a CoP for developing and implementing curricula in food systems courses; (2) share materials using systems thinking frameworks to teach about food systems; and (3) foster assessment tools on student learning in systems thinking.

Supplementary materials provide course outlines and valuable links to resources.

Front. Sustain. Food Syst., 28 October 2021
Sec. Social Movements, Institutions and Governance
Volume 5 – 2021 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2021.737434

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:

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