Updated: Jun 15, 2020
There has been a lot of talk about food systems since COVID-19 reshaped our world a few months ago. So what exactly is a food system?
Let's break it down......
A few definitions found:
"The food system is a complex web of activities involving the production, processing, transport, and consumption. Issues concerning the food system include the governance and economics of food production, its sustainability, the degree to which we waste food, how food production affects the natural environment and the impact of food on individual and population health." (https://www.futureoffood.ox.ac.uk/what-food-system)
A food system is the path that food travels from conception in the field all the way to digestion in the stomach. This includes the growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consuming, and disposing of food. Also included is the inputs needed and outputs generated at each step of the process. Food systems directly relate to food sources.
This term is used often in discussions regarding nutrition, food, health, community economic development and agriculture. A food system includes all of the processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a population.
A food system operates within and is influenced by social, political, economic and environmental contexts. Human resources providing labor, research and education are also required. Food systems are either conventional or alternative depending on their model of food lifespan from origin to plate." (http://www.aketta.com/blog/food-system-defined.aspx)
This is a great diagram that showcases the system:
And this video does a great job explaining.
I think it's safe to say that food systems are complex. We are all part of the system, each connected and integral to the other. Whether we are planting the seed or scraping our waste into the trash, we all are agriculture.