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Transitions to sustainability: a change in thinking about food systems change?

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  • C. Hinrichs

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Abstract

In the present context of intertwined and intensifying economic, environmental and climate challenges and crisis, we need to enlarge our thinking about food systems change. One way to do so is by considering intersections between our longstanding interdisciplinary interest in food and agriculture and new scholarship and practice centered on transitions to sustainability. The general idea of transition references change in a wide range of fields and contexts, and has gained prominence most recently as a way to discuss and address sustainability challenges. To explore connections to food systems change, I highlight two broad approaches in the sustainability transitions research field. First is a multi-level perspective that examines sustainability innovation pathways and second is a social practices approach that illuminates the possibilities (or not) for shifts in normal everyday routines and practices. Taken together, these approaches offer different and useful ways to think about the dynamics, durability and significance of innovations in food and agriculture, and the part they play in transitions to sustainability. Numerous opportunities exist to forge more productive links between work on food systems change and the broad and growing sustainability transitions field. First, our research and practice insights about the importance of politics, governance, values and ethics in food and agriculture could help to strengthen the sustainability transitions field, which initially underplayed such questions. Second, the sustainability transitions field’s implicit systems sensibility and its futures orientation could help to widen the scope of inquiry and the contribution to policy and planning of research and practice on food systems change. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Suggested Citation

  • C. Hinrichs, 2014. "Transitions to sustainability: a change in thinking about food systems change?," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 31(1), pages 143-155, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:31:y:2014:i:1:p:143-155
    DOI: 10.1007/s10460-014-9479-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Francesca Galli & Fabio Bartolini & Gianluca Brunori, 2016. "Handling Diversity of Visions and Priorities in Food Chain Sustainability Assessment," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(4), pages 1-21, March.
    2. Kuhmonen, Tuomas, 2017. "Exposing the attractors of evolving complex adaptive systems by utilising futures images: Milestones of the food sustainability journey," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 214-225.
    3. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:4:p:305:d:66573 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Giaime Berti & Catherine Mulligan, 2016. "Competitiveness of Small Farms and Innovative Food Supply Chains: The Role of Food Hubs in Creating Sustainable Regional and Local Food Systems," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(7), pages 1-31, July.
    5. repec:gam:jsusta:v:11:y:2019:i:5:p:1275-:d:209744 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:oup:erevae:v:44:y:2017:i:4:p:540-566. is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:gam:jagris:v:9:y:2019:i:4:p:74-:d:221513 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:agisys:v:164:y:2018:i:c:p:116-121 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Sarah Rotz & Evan Fraser, 2015. "Resilience and the industrial food system: analyzing the impacts of agricultural industrialization on food system vulnerability," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 5(3), pages 459-473, September.
    10. Hannah Pitt & Mat Jones, 2016. "Scaling up and out as a Pathway for Food System Transitions," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(10), pages 1-16, October.
    11. repec:gam:jsusta:v:11:y:2019:i:5:p:1284-:d:209980 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:8:p:1357-:d:106713 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:gam:jsusta:v:11:y:2019:i:4:p:1003-:d:206128 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Sigrid C. O. Wertheim-Heck & Gert Spaargaren, 2016. "Shifting configurations of shopping practices and food safety dynamics in Hanoi, Vietnam: a historical analysis," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 33(3), pages 655-671, September.
    15. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:6:p:925-:d:100231 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:6:p:931-:d:100327 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Jason Konefal, 2015. "Governing Sustainability Transitions: Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives and Regime Change in United States Agriculture," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(1), pages 1-22, January.
    18. José Luis Vivero-Pol, 2017. "Food as Commons or Commodity? Exploring the Links between Normative Valuations and Agency in Food Transition," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-23, March.
    19. repec:gam:jagris:v:8:y:2018:i:11:p:173-:d:180121 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. René Audet & Sylvain Lefèvre & Éliane Brisebois & Mahdiah El-Jed, 2017. "Structuring Tensions and Key Relations of Montreal Seasonal Food Markets in the Sustainability Transition of the Agri-Food Sector," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-16, February.
    21. Hugo F. Alrøe & Marion Sautier & Katharine Legun & Jay Whitehead & Egon Noe & Henrik Moller & Jon Manhire, 2017. "Performance versus Values in Sustainability Transformation of Food Systems," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-31, February.
    22. David Meek, 2016. "The cultural politics of the agroecological transition," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 33(2), pages 275-290, June.

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