Research evidence shows that current food systems have substantial adverse climate and health impacts – and that this can only be remediated by fundamentally transforming these systems. Besides switching to more sustainable and resource-efficient production methods, we must also tackle food waste and significantly change our diets.
Little is known, however, about the social and economic impacts of such a transition to healthy, climate-neutral, and sustainable food systems. As a result, we risk creating new problems as we solve existing ones. For example, we might inadvertently increase economic instability for producers, widen health disparities across social groups, or outsource environmental impacts instead of reducing them.
Bringing ethical questions to the fore
The project’s interdisciplinary research team explores potential transition pathways to more appropriate food systems and develops means to make such transitions just and socially acceptable. It works to identify the different types of injustice that may arise as food systems are transformed, and to find ways to address and resolve them.
JUST-FOOD is designed to support policymaking by providing
- empirical information about the distribution of environmental, economic, and nutritional impacts of food system transitions;
- co-created policy options and means of alleviating the identified injustices; and
- procedures for involving vulnerable food system actors in managing and governing just transitions.
A transdisciplinary approach
The project takes a transdisciplinary approach. To create integrated knowledge on just food system transitions, JUST-FOOD combines theoretical work on food justice and food system analysis with environmental research, agricultural economics, as well as nutrition and social sciences. In addition, knowledge is co-created with stakeholders throughout the different stages of the project.