Keywords: local food, food system models, food chain, learning, actors, environmental impact, economic diversity, regional economy, input-output analysis, sustainability, sustainable development, industrial ecology, Finland, socioeconomic impact
Systems frame for multidisciplinary study on sustainability of localising food
The local, as opposed to global, food system refers to the idea of achieving food equitability, access, security, responsibility and environmental stewardship by means of localising food. We studied the effects and learning challenges of localising the food system at municipal and provincial scales in a Finnish case. In our multidisciplinary project, we developed a conceptual system model to facilitate interdisciplinary communication and integration. In the model, a food system was divided into the economic, the biophysical and, as the link between these two, the learning subsystems. The model and our disciplinary results from case studies within each of the subsystems are described. The theories and methods in analysing environmental and socioeconomic impacts of, and learning challenges for, localising the food system are discussed. Our experience gives support to foodshed thinking: it is essential to include both the rural source and the urban sink areas in a food system.