Food System Transitions – climate friendly and inclusive
There is a broad consensus that the current ways of producing and consuming food have to change fundamentally. Agriculture and nutrition have strong impact on climate change, biodiversity, quality of ground and surface water as well as soil health. Furthermore, food value chains face severe social problems with regard to low farmers’ income, working conditions in the food processing sector, health aspects of nutrition and, in a global perspective, also the challenges of meeting the food related SDGs.
At the same time food is usually perceived as something “private”. However, which type of food is being consumed and with whom in which context is strongly shaped by social factors. The project “Social cohesion, food and health. Inclusive food system transitions” takes up these tensions and aims at understanding the links between social cohesion, food and health in a more systematic way. To achieve this aim, the project integrates different disciplinary perspectives from social and political science, food and innovation system research, food technology as well as nutritional and medical science. The project is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Peter Feindt (Humboldt-Universität), Prof. Dr. Klaus Jacob (Freie Universität Berlin) and Prof. Dr. Dr. Martina Schäfer (Technische Unversität Berlin). Besides different departments of these three Berlin universities, further scientific partners as the Charité and the Leibniz Institute for Vegetables and Ornamental Crops are involved. The project also cooperates with various actors from business, administration and civil society, including the innovation network Food Berlin, the Berlin Food Council, the Berlin Senate administration responsible for the city’s food strategy as well as the cluster “food industry” of the Brandenburg Economic Development Agency.
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Building on a theoretical conceptualization of the nexus between food, health and social cohesion, the project analyses technical, organisational and social innovations which claim to contribute to a transition towards more sustainable food systems. A number of case studies systematically address aspects of social cohesion related to food and health, e.g.: Is the access to safe, healthy and sustainable food socially balanced? Are innovations such as municipal food strategies or regional value chains socially inclusive? How does the ongoing differentiation of food styles affect social identities and social cohesion? And how do technological food innovations such as laboratory meat or fortified foodstuffs affect the different dimensions of social cohesion?
The project starts in January 2021 and is being funded till Oktober 2024. In the long run, the project aims to lay the foundations for a future Berlin Centre for Inclusive Food System Transitions.