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BIONÆR-Bionæringsprogram

Diversifying sustainable and organic food systems

Alternative title: FOOdIVERSE: Mangfold for bærekraftighet i lokalt forankrede økologiske matsystemer

Awarded: NOK 2.1 mill.

FOOdIVERSE will investigate what characterizes local and organic food supply and food consumption in five European countries: Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom. The project seeks to identify what characterizes a robust and diverse supply and consumption pattern and what factors can contribute to promote a development towards a more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable food system. The starting point for the project is to investigate the extent to which a diverse food system at the local level can prove to be more sustainable. Both the individual countries' food culture, as well as social and economic conditions for consumption of local and organic food will be analyzed. SIFO will have special responsibility for analyzing data from a European survey on provisioning and consumption of food, and through focus groups map where and how consumers, both in cities and rural areas, obtain different types of food. The Project will map the possibilities that exist for a more robust and varied local distribution system. Using available data and interviews with key players in the value chain, we will identify challenges and potentials for a more diverse range of local and organic food. The project will establish knowledge about the organization and power relations in the food system in selected regions through analyzes of political documents and interviews with central authorities and actors. Through analyzes of various economic, social and political conditions, FOOdIVERSE will identify possible measures to stimulate a more local and organic food supply. In all countries, so-called Living Labs will be established in parallel, where consumers, producers, retailers and local authorities will come together with the goal of developing new solutions for local distribution and consumption of organic food.

Food consumption significantly influences resource use and the environmental effects of food production and distribution. The mainstream food supply chains and their governance are characterised by a food regime that creates large quantities of standardised food. A more diverse food system could deliver more choices and could be more sustainable. What is lacking is a systematic and practice-oriented characterisation of diversity in the food system and its impact on resilience, enhancing socio-economic and environmental pillars of sustainability. The FOOdIVERSE project aims to produce practice-oriented knowledge on how diversity in diets, novel food supply chains and food governance contributes to more organic and sustainable food systems. The project provides multi-level perspectives on transforming local food systems across Europe by promoting diversity of consumers, producers and key stakeholders. Methodologically and theoretically this project takes a relational approach on diversity, emphasising different characteristics in various contexts and across different scales. Diversity has diverse meanings, for example in urban Norway or in rural United Kingdom, but also to German consumers, Italian government officials or Polish food producers. We seek to identify the relations in characteristics of diversity that accelerate a transformation toward more sustainable food systems. The project directly promotes organic food systems through involving consumers, producers, food-processors and those governing food systems with a living lab methodology. A user-centred and innovation approach in local contexts of Italy, Germany, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom assists in comparing whilst instantaneously implementing the results in real-life scenarios. We engage different actors and include a diverse range of viewpoints on organic food systems.

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BIONÆR-Bionæringsprogram