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Food Systems and Natural Resources

image of Food Systems and Natural Resources

For thousands of years, nature has gracefully provided the necessary inputs to feed us, and we have in many occasions taken these precious gifts for granted. This report, “Food Systems and Natural Resources” is an effort to account for these inputs, looking at how we are using and managing them, the consequences of that management and the options to improve the efficiency with which they are managed.

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Food system types, governance dynamics and their implications for resource use

Chapter 2 highlighted the relevance and value of a food systems approach. This chapter introduces the types of food systems used in this study. Food systems are defined in stylized forms, with various features such as length of the supply chain, food production system, nutrition and environmental concerns. The coordination of linkages between the actors in the supply chain is also a key and distinguishing characteristic of a food system. Coordination mechanisms, such as contracts and standards, are key in explaining the governance and power relations in a system. This chapter shows a historical pattern of changes in the governance structures of food systems in the Western world, which is also taking place in most of the emerging and developing countries as well. The implications of these governance dynamics in the food systems for natural resource use are briefly indicated in the concluding section of this chapter and further analyzed in the following chapters.

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