Food systems: From concept to practice and vice versa


H. Posthumus, B. de Steenhuijsen-Piters, J. Dengerink, S. Vellema

Food systems have usually been conceptualized as a set of activities ranging from production through to consumption, often represented as a value chain. However, the increasing attention to food security has also expanded the understanding of food systems.

Food security is a complex issue, encompassing components of availability, access and utilization, with multiple environmental, social, political and economic determinants. The global commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals has further emphasised the interlinkages between eradication of hunger and poverty, sustainable use of natural resources, promoting healthy and prosperous lives and social justice. Sustainable food systems are thus key to deliver on the SDGs. Food system approaches increasingly considered a more holistic system beyond the value chain to include more (global) environmental and socio-economic drivers and food security outcomes.