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Institutions and Environment

Food Policy Councils in the world

Food policy councils are collaboratives that strive to improve food system outcomes. They have different aims and focal points. They have different cultural backgrounds and identified different impact areas for themselves.


Carbon footprint reduction and greenhouse gas emissions in the food industry
Agroecology as new paradigm

Agroecology is an academic discipline that studies ecological processes applied to agricultural production systems. Bringing ecological principles to bear can suggest new management approaches in agroecosystems. The term can refer to a science, a movement, or an agricultural practice. Agroecologists study a variety of agroecosystems. The field of agroecology is not associated with any one particular method of farming, whether it be organic, regenerative, integrated, industrial, intensive or extensive, although some use the name specifically for alternative agriculture.

Sources:;;;; Kumar, R., Agrawal, N. K., Vijayshankar, P. S., & Vasavi, A. R. (2020). State of Rural and Agrarian India Report 2020: Rethinking Productivity and Populism Through Alternative Approaches. Notion Press. Kumar, R. (2023). Degrowth, Diversity and Decentralisation: Building Sustainable Food Systems for Food and Nutrition Security. In Reimagining Prosperity: Social and Economic Development in Post-COVID India (pp. 171-187). Singapore: Springer Nature Singapore;

Innovation policy mixes to support food system innovation

Although the availability of food is not perceived as an immediate, major concern in Europe, the need to ensure a secure, safe, nutritious and affordable supply of food, from both land and the oceans, remains. Despite the overall level of economic prosperity in Europe, access to safe and nutritious food is still problematic for parts of the population, and food poverty is a concern in many European countries. Furthermore, obesity and diabetes, often related to poor dietary choices have become a major public health issue in the EU, with additional negative effects on economic productivity. Moreover, the global food system on which Europe relies faces a number of challenges concerning ecological

sustainability, and robustness in the face of shocks and global change. There has been an increasing interest in science, technology and innovation policy studies in the topic of policy mixes. While earlier studies conceptualised policy mixes mainly in terms of combinations of instruments to support innovation, more recent literature extends the focus to how policy mixes can foster sustainability transitions. For this, broader policy mix conceptualisations have emerged which also include considerations of policy goals and policy strategies; policy mix characteristics such as consistency, coherence, credibility and comprehensiveness; as well as policy making and implementation processes interdisciplinary social science research on policy mixes which combines approaches, methods and insights from innovation and policy studies to further such broader policy mix research with a specific focus on fostering sustainability transitions.

Sources: Kern eta l 2019; 10.1016/j.eist.2017.11.001; Kivima and Kern 2016; 10.1016/j.respol.2015.09.008; Köhler et al. 2019; 10.1016/j.eist.2019.01.004; Geels 2011; 10.1016/j.eist.2011.02.002; Turnheim et al. 2020; 10.1016/j.eist.2019.12.009

New Agribusinesses

Farmers of the future are confronted with new environments and have to develop new ways of doing their business.


Biodiversity preservation and conservation farming with data and digitalisation

The goal of the “Digital Agricultural Knowledge and Information System (DAKIS)“ project is to develop a new decision support system, which enables the management of the non-commodity products of today, such as ESS and biodiversity, as “products” of agricultural activities with an economic value. DAKIS will introduce a flexible work organisation and enable resource efficient sustainable production controlled by market and societal demand and cooperation among farms. This will be achieved via the use of real-time digital information systems, and autonomous, interlinked, small-scale robots.


Sources: Project DAKIS:;

Investments and developing finance

Investment in food and agriculture is one of the most effective means of stimulating economic growth and reducing poverty, especially in countries at a low level of economic development. It is also essential for ending hunger and malnutrition in all of their dimensions – by increasing food production to meet growing demand, by improving the access of vulnerable people to food, and by stabilising markets so that prices are affordable for consumers and remunerative for producers. Food and agricultural investments are also necessary to improve the resilience of rural incomes and livelihoods by addressing climate change, conserving natural resources and facilitating the transition to sustainable agriculture.

Sources: Project DAKIS:;

Stability of political environment

In a globalised world, agricultural politics is more determined through supranational or intergovernmental bodies. These institutions do not possess the same dependency on public support as local and national politicians, which leads to a decreasing importance of politics. Still these institutions decide the agricultural framework and decide on, whether sustainable agriculture will be promoted and non-sustainable agricultural practices will become more expensive

Sources: Project DAKIS:;

Nudging as small-scale self-regulation of sustainable consumption

Nudges are an umbrella term for soft paternalistic measures to regulate and change automatic and reflective behaviour. Although nudging offers a wide range of tools (social norms, warning signs, reminders, simplification, Defaults), it is rarely used in sustainable consumption.

Sources: Project DAKIS:;

Transforming the food system into a regenerative, sustainable food system that works for all within planetary boundaries.

Transforming the food system into a regenerative, sustainable food system that works for all within planetary boundaries. Call to action: Transforming the food system into a regenerative, sustainable food system and providing healthy diets for people without destroying the planet - halting biodiversity loss and protecting the global commons to ensure food for all without destroying nature and health. Goal and a kind of vision = Turnaround 4 of Earth4All.


Considering time in agriculture, production, land use

Time is a major factor in many parts of the food system. Consumers expect immediate responses, products on their table all around the year whereas the time spans in agriculture are much longer: seasonal, yearly or even decades when planning for land use.

Sources: FOSTER search;;10.1016/j.landusepol.2019.104036

Land use and land use policies

Increasing food production without further harming biodiversity is a key challenge of contemporary societies. That also means a differentiation in land use and the policies thereof. Land is a finite, non-renewable and irreplaceable resource underpinning many ecological processes that sustain human life and well-being (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). Questions from owning land to political decisions for keeping land in farmers' hands arise and are discussed as pressure on land increases. Some scenarios represent different storylines encompassing assumptions on macro-economic drivers (e.g. population and GDP growth rate), demand for food and livestock products as well as policy choices on trade liberalisation/protectionism, biodiversity conservation, regulations on land-use planning and subsidies to farmers through the European Union (EU) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Projections for the year 2040: i) the total

energy content of agricultural output; ii) the total nitrogen surplus, a proxy of the overall impact of agriculture on the environment; and iii) an index measuring the capacity of agricultural systems to support biodiversity. A study presents aggregate results (EU level) and spatially explicit assessments at a fine resolution (1 km2). Results indicate that a strong neo-liberal approach to agriculture (full liberalisation, abolition of subsidies) will lead to increased use-input efficiency and decrease of impact from Nitrogen input; however, a large amount of agricultural area in Europe will be abandoned, which will lead to an absolute decrease in production and increased land homogenisation and polarisation, with negative effects on the capacity of agricultural areas to support biodiversity. Protectionist and sovereigntist policies will keep absolute production and cultivated area high, but at the cost of less efficiency in the use of inputs and higher impacts on the environment and biodiversity. Under a scenario characterised by environmental-friendly practices, multifunctional landscapes and localism, significant decreases in the environmental pressure of agriculture (compared to other scenarios) can be achieved with a minimum decrease in agricultural output. Our results indicate that agricultural and land-use policies aiming at preserving production over large rural areas, multi-functionality and diversification of agricultural landscapes can contribute to the joint achievement of biodiversity protection and high food production.

Sources: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2019.104036; 10.1016/j.landusepol.2019.05.005;;;

Hygienic regulations and their impacts

Hygiene is an important issue in the whole food system, from production to transport. Therefore, packaging plays a role but also new processes and ideas to keep food fresh longer and healthy. This does not mean to eradicate all bacteria, viruses or other organisms, but maybe there are also new ways of thinking when avoiding harm or updating human beings' immune system, e.g. in yoghurt, you intentionally use organisms, in fermentation they are essential etc. But there are also new regulations on EU level on the way that may have long-term impacts on the way we produce and transport food or even the way collaborations have to be organised.

Sources: REGULATION (EC) No 852/2004 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 29 April 2004; on the hygiene of foodstuffs EUR-Lex - 32004R0852 - EN - EUR-Lex (; REGULATION (EC) No 853/2004 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 29 April 2004; laying down specific hygiene rules for on the hygiene of foodstuffs EUR-Lex - 32004R0853 - EN - EUR-Lex (; REGULATION (EC) NO 854/2004 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 29 April 2004; laying down specific rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption EUR-Lex - 32004R0854 - EN - EUR-Lex (

Food policy and regulation

Examining government policies and regulations related to food safety, labelling, and sustainability. There are examples in the world the EU might learn from - as positive or negative example.

This will be part of the work in Workpackage 4.

Source: USA:

Land use and power

Land grabbing is a power issue and widens the markets. Especially in forestry, there are many attempts for different land use or to use power to distribute land in a different way.


Multiplier effects in local food system

Re-localisation: The purchase of local food is often argued to stimulate local economies through multiplier effects. But there are doubts that this argument is correct. It is questioned.