Food systems

The term “food system” is used frequently in discussions about nutrition, food, health, community economic development and agriculture. A food system includes all processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a population: growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing , consumption, and disposal of food and food-related items. It also includes the inputs needed and the outputs generated at each of these steps. A food system operates within the social, political, economic and environmental contexts. It also requires human resources to provide labor, research and education. Either food systems are conventional or alternative selon Their lifespan model of food from origin to plate.[1] [2] [3]

Conventional food systems

Conventional food systems operate on economies of scale . These food systems are geared towards a production model that requires maximizing efficiency in order to lower costs and increase overall production, and they utilize economic models such as vertical integration , economic specialization , and global trade .

The term “conventional” when describing food systems is broadly defined as being comparable to other food systems .

History of traditional food systems

The development of food systems can be traced back to the origins of in situ agriculture and the production of food surpluses. These surpluses enabled the development of settled areas and contributed to the development of ancient civilizations, particularly those in the Fertile Crescent . [4] The system of trade associated with the exchange of foodstuffs of East Asia, North America, South America, and Subsaharan Africa with common commodities of exchange such as salt , spices , fish , grains , etc. [5] Through events in world history such as the conquests of Alexander the Great , theCrusades , the expansion of Islam , the journeys of Marco Polo , and the exploration and colonization of the Americas by Europeans to the introduction and redistribution of new foods to the world at large, and food systems. After World War II , the advent of industrialized agriculture and more robust global trade mechanisms have evolved into the models of food production , presentation, delivery, and disposal that characterizes conventional food systems today. [6]

Impacts of food systems

Lower food costs and more food production can be directly attributed to the evolution of conventional food systems. Agronomic efficiency is driven by the need to be more efficient, and it can be passed on to the consumer. Also, the advent of industrial agriculture and the infrastructure built around the world’s health system has expanded beyond the limits of ” Malthusian catastrophe “.

However, fossil fuels , which are necessary for mechanized agriculture , the manufacture or collection of chemical fertilizers , and the packaging of foods. Food processing began when the number of consumers started growing rapidly. The demand for cheap and effective calories climbed resulting in nutrition decline. [7] Industrialized agriculture, which leads to local economies, often leads to the compromise of local, regional, or even global ecosystemsthrough fertilizer runoff, nonpoint source pollution, [8]and greenhouse gas emission . Also, the production of food products (labor, taxes, etc.) are more often than not. . For example, the majority of salmon in the United States of America is generally considered to be more stringent than any other country in the world. [9] The globalization of food products can result in the loss of traditional food systems in less Developed Countries , and-have negative impacts on the population health , ecosystems, andcultures in those countries. [10]

Alternative food systems

Alternative food systems are those that fall outside the scope of conventional agriculture .

Local food systems

Local food systems are networks of food production and consumption that is geographically and economically accessible. They contrast to industrial food systems by operating with reduced food transportation and more direct marketing , leading to fewer people between the farmer and the consumer. As a result, relationships that are developed in local food systems emerge from face-to-face interactions, with a stronger sense of trust and social connectedness between actors. [11] In addition to this, consumers can also encourage farmers to be environmentally friendly. [12]As a result, some scholars suggest that local food systems are a good way to revitalize a community. [13] The distance of food transportation has been promoted for its environmental benefits. [14] Also, farmers can enjoy a better quality of life. [15]

Both proponents and critics of local food systems warn that they can lead to narrow inward-looking attitudes or ‘local food patriotism’, [16] and that price premiums and local food cultures can be elitist and exclusive. [17]

Examples of local food systems include community-supported agriculture , farmers markets and farm to school programs. They have been associated with the 100 Mile Diet and Low Carbon Diet , as well as the food sovereigntymovement and slow food movement . Various forms of urban agriculture located in densely populated areas not traditionally associated with farming. Garden sharing , where urban and suburban homeowners offer land access to food growers in exchange for a share of the harvest, is a relatively new trend, at the extreme end of direct local food production.

Organic food systems

Organic food systems are characterized by a reduced dependence on chemical inputs and an increased concern for transparency and information. Organic produce is grown without the chemical pesticides and fertilizers of industrial food systems, and livestock is reared with antibiotics or growth hormones . The reduced inputs of organic agriculture can also lead to a greater reliance on local knowledge, creating a stronger knowledge community among farmers. [18] [19] The transparency of food information is vital for organic food systems. [20]As a result, a variety of certification bodies have emerged in organic food systems that set standards for organic identification. Organic agriculture is promoted for the ecological benefits of reduced chemical application, the health benefits of lower chemical consumption, the economic benefits that increase premium prices, and the benefits of increased transparency in the food system.

Like local food systems, organic food systems have been criticized for being elitist and inaccessible. Critics have also suggested that organic farming is such that it is necessary to use organic pesticides while using pesticides and fertilizers that are organically derived [21].

Cooperatives in food systems

Cooperatives can exist both at the farmer end of food production and the consumer end. Farming cooperatives refer to arrangements where farmers pool resources, or to grow their crops or get their crops to market. Consumer cooperatives often refer to food cooperatives where members buy a share in the store. Co-operative grocery stores, unlike corporate grocery stores, are socially owned and thus can not be taken from the store as profit. As a result, food co-ops do not work for profit. Other forms of cooperatives that have developed more recently include community-supported agriculture, where community members buy a share in a farm’s harvest, and may also be engaged in farm labor, operating at both the consumer and producer end of food systems. Garden sharing individual landowners and food growers, while variations on this approach organizes groups of food gardeners for mutual assistance.

The benefits of cooperatives are largely in the redistribution of risk and responsibility. For farming cooperatives that share the resources, the burden of investment is disbursed to all members, rather than being concentrated in a single individual. A criticism of cooperatives is that reduced competition can reduce efficiency [22]

Fair Trade

Fair trade has emerged in global food systems to create a greater balance between the price of food and the cost of producing it. It is defined by a larger proportion of the world’s largest trading companies. The main goal of Fair Trade is to change international commercial relations in such a way that they can increase their control over their own future, and have a fair return for their work development ” [23] Like organic food systems, fair trade links on transparency and the flow of information. [24] Well-known examples of fair trade commodities are coffeeand cocoa .


Transparency within food systems refers to full disclosure of information about rules, procedures and practices at all levels within a food production and supply chain . [25] Transparency ensures that consumers have detailed information about production of a given food item. Traceability , by contrast, is the Ability to Trace Their origins to all components in a food producing and marketing chain, whether processed or unprocessed (eg, meat, vegetables) foods.2 Concerns about transparency and traceability-have-been Heightened with food safety scares Such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Escherichia coli (E. coli), do not aim Exclusively Refer to food safety. Transparency is also important in identifying foods that have extrinsic qualities that affect the nature of food, but affect its production, such as animal welfare , social justice issues, and environmental concerns. [26]

One of the primary ways is achieved through certification and / or use of food labels. In the United States, some certification originates in the public sector, such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic label. Others have their origin in private sector certification (eg, Humanely Raised, Certified Humane). There are also labels which do not rely on certification, such as the USDA Country of Origin Label (COOL).

Participation in local food systems such as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), Farmers Markets, food cooperatives and farmer cooperatives also enhances transparency, and there are various programs for the purchase of locally grown and marketed foods.


USDA Organic Label
Organic (USA) – The USDA Organic label indicates that the product has been produced according to the USDA’s Federal Organic Standard. This label is applied to fruits , vegetables , meat , eggs and dairy products . Some states, such as California , have their own organic label. Organic labeling is prominent internationally as well.
Fair Trade Show in UK
Fair trade -Indicates that the product has been grown and marketed in accordance with Fair Trade standards. This is an independent certification, awarded by FLO-CERT and overseen by FLO International.Major food items that are marketed under Fair Trade are coffee, tea and chocolate. Many items other than food with a Fair Trade label.
Certified Food Alliance . Food Alliance is a nonprofit organization that certifies farms, ranches, and food processors and distributors for safe and humane working conditions, humane treatment of animals, and good environmental stewardship. Food Alliance Certified products from farms, ranches and food processors that have made meaningful standards for social and environmental responsibility, as determined by an independent third-party audit. Food Alliance does not certify genetically modified crops or livestock. Meat or dairy products come from animals that are not treated with antibiotics or growth hormones. Food Alliance Certified foods never contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Certified Food Alliance.
Examples of COOL Labeling
Country of Origin – This label was created by the enactment of the 2002 Farm Bill . The US Department of Agriculture is responsible for ict implementation, qui Began 30 September 2008. The bill mandatescountry of origin labeling for Several products, Including beef , lamb , pork , fish , chicken , perishable agricultural commodities and Some nuts . USDA rules provide specifics to documentation, timetables and definitions. [27] There is no specific label to indicate the country of origin; they will vary by country.
American Humane Certified . This certification is provided by the American Humane Association , and ensures that these animals are provided with adequate care, feed, healthcare and behavior expression.Antibiotics are not used except for therapeutic reasons; growth promoters are not used. Other issues including transport, processing and biosecurity are addressed as well. Species covered are poultry , cattleand swine . [28]
Certified Humane Raised & Handled . This label ensures that production meets the Humane Farm Standard Animal Care Program, which addresses housing, diet (excluding routine use of hormones or antibiotics) and natural behavior. In addition, producers must comply with food safety and environmental protection regulations. They must meet standards set by the American Meat Institute , which are more stringent than those laid out in the Federal Humane Slaughter Act. Has been applied to beef, poultry and eggs, pork, lamb, goat , turkey , veal , dairy products and wool . [29]

See also

  • Agricultural value chain
  • Agroecology
  • fish farming
  • Animal Welfare
  • Factory Farming
  • Fair Trade
  • Fair Trade Certification
  • Food distribution
  • Food Safety
  • Food chain
  • Food industry
  • Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
  • Industrial agriculture
  • Local food
  • Organic certification
  • Organic Food
  • Organic Farming
  • National Animal Identification System
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Traceability

Notes and references

  1. Jump up^ Discovering the Food System – Linking Food, Nutrition and Agriculture
  2. Jump up^ Conceptualizing food systems for global environmental research – Polly J. Ericksen Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University Center for the Environment, Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK Received 17 August 2006; received in revised form 5 September 2007; accepted 12 September 2007
  3. Jump up^ Policy Development Review, 2003, 21 (5-6): 531-553 Old and New Food Policy – Simon Maxwell and Rachel Slater *
  4. Jump up^ (2004); Manning, R .; Against the Grain: How Agriculture Hijacked Civilization, New York: North Point Press
  5. Jump up^ (1994); Toussaint-Samat, M. and Bell, A .; A History of Food; Blackwell Publishing
  6. Jump up^ (1998); Welch, R., Graham, R .; “A new paradigm for world agriculture: meeting human needs, Productive, sustainable, nutritious”; Field Crops Research # 60 ,.
  7. Jump up^ Nestle, Marion. (2013). Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. “Los Angeles, California: University of California Press,ISBN  978-0520275966
  8. Jump up^ (1993); Schnitkey, GD, Miranda, M .; “The Impact of Pollution Control on Livestock Crop Producers”, Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics
  9. Jump up^ (2001); Bjorndal, T., “The Competitiveness of the Chilean Salmon Aquaculture Industry”, Foundation for Research in Economics and Business Administration, Bergen, Norway
  10. Jump up^ (1996); Kuhnlein, HV, Receiver, O .; Dietary Change and Traditional Food Systems of Indigenous Peoples; Center for Nutrition and the Environment of Indigenous Peoples, School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Quebec, Canada
  11. Jump up^ Hinrichs, Clare. 2000. “Embeddedness and local food systems: notes on two types of direct agricultural market” Journal of Rural Studies 16: 295-303
  12. Jump up^ “About Local Food Systems” .
  13. Jump up^ Feenstra, Gail. 1997. “Local Food Systems and Sustainable Communities” American Journal of Alternative Agriculture 12 (1) p. 28-36
  14. Jump up^ Jones, Andy. 2002. “An Environmental Assessment of Food Supply Chains: A Case Study on Dessert Apples” Environmental Management 30 (4) p. 560-576
  15. Jump up^ “About Local Food Systems” .
  16. Jump up^ Bell and Valentine (1997). D. Bell and G. Valentine Consuming Geography: We Are Where We Eat, Routledge, London and New York
  17. Jump up^ Guthman, Julie. 2004. Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California. Berkeley: University of California Press
  18. Jump up^ Morgan, K and J. Murdoch (2000) “Organic farming: knowledge, power and innovation in the food chain” Geoforum 31 (2): 159-173
  19. Jump up^ Renkin, AM, K. Lyons and RCN Laurence (2002) in Proceedings from the 14th IFOAM Organic World Congress, Victoria, BC, August 2002
  20. Jump up^ Raynolds, L. (2000) “Global Re-embedding Agriculture: The International Organic and Fair Trade Trade” Agriculture and Human Values ​​17 (3): 297-309
  21. Jump up^ Altieri, M. and P. Rossett. 1997. “Agroecology versus input substitution: A fundamental contradiction of sustainable agriculture” Society and Natural Resources 10 (3): 283-296
  22. Jump up^ Deininger, Klaus (1995) Collective agricultural production: A solution for transition economies ?. WorldDevehpmenr, Vol. 23, No. 8, pp. 1317-1334
  23. Jump up^ Fairtrade Foundation (1999). “The Fairtrade Foundation.” < “Archived copy” . Archived from the original on 2005-06-01 . Retrieved 2005-05-31. >
  24. Jump up^ Raynolds, L. (2000) “Global Re-embedding Agriculture: The International Organic and Fair Trade Trade” Agriculture and Human Values ​​17 (3): 297-309
  25. Jump up^ VonBailey, D., Jones, E., & Dickinson, DL (2002). Knowledge Management and Comparative International Strategies on Vertical Flow Information in the Global Food System. Bitter. J. Agr. Econ. 87: 1337-1344.
  26. Jump up^ Unnevehr, L. & Roberts, T. (2002). Food safety incentives in a changing world food system. Food Control 13 (2): 73-76.
  27. Jump up^ Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling – Interim Final Rule for Meat, Perishable Agricultural Commodities, Peanuts, Macadamia Nuts, Pecans, and Ginseng. USDA 8/28/08.
  28. Jump up^ American Humane Association.
  29. Jump up^ Humane Farm Animal Care.