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Assessing Community Contributions to Sustainable Food Systems
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development.
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development.
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development.
2020 (English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Background: Evidence suggests that food and dietary adjustments at the community level can make positive contributions to globally sustainable food systems (SFS), which have reciprocal impacts on quality-of-life factors such as food security and nutritional health. Assessing such contributions has two central challenges: 1) a lack of methods that support alignment between communities and across scales, balanced against the need to involve the community in developing relevant indicators; and 2) the absence of adequate, fine grained data relevant to the community. Purpose: Addressing these two challenges, this paper builds on a local-to-global approach to engaging communities in SFS development and illustrates using a community case study with Canadian dietitians (a professional community). Methods: Researchers used the Delphi Inquiry method, guided by the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development, to address the first challenge, together with causal loop diagrams informed by the Cultural Adaptation Template to address the second. Results: Indicators were developed for dietitian-identified contributions to SFS. Modeling indicator interactions showed how some actions are reinforcing a professional paradigm, as well as priority areas for action and measurement. Conclusions: The methods used were a good fit for addressing the two central challenges guiding this work. Procedural guidelines are proposed that are adaptable to different community settings. Further, results highlighted that cultural paradigms are a driving force of change, dietitians have a strategic role in SFS development, and facilitating SFS literacy among RDs generates positive feedback loops that can amplify adaptations for, and positive contributions to, broader SFS development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2020.
Keywords [en]
Sustainable Food Systems; Sustainable Diets; Dietitians; Indicators; Assessment; Community
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-18971OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-18971DiVA, id: diva2:1373701
Funder
Vinnova, 2014-04990
Note

This article has been submitted to Social Indicators Research. The print version may differ from the attached version as changes may occur during the peer review and publication process. 

Available from: 2019-11-27 Created: 2019-11-27 Last updated: 2019-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Inviting Community into the Development of Globally Sustainable Food Systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Inviting Community into the Development of Globally Sustainable Food Systems
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Food systems and human diets contribute to unsustainable socioecological conditions, which in turn negatively affect human health. These driver-impact relationships span multiple scales, prompting international governance bodies, nations, and communities alike to grapple with solutions for a better food future. Collaborative action across scales and sectors is necessary; however, how communities can align contributions with efforts at broader scales is unclear.

The aim of this research is to develop theoretical and procedural supports for community engagement in globally sustainable food systems (SFS), and to provide concrete results relevant to one case community.

The community of nutrition and dietetics professionals was chosen as the case community given its history of engagement with SFS, its integration throughout food system sectors, and because dietary shifts have significant potential to contribute to SFS. Furthermore, the researcher’s position as a member of this community supported the case study work.

The research uses transdisciplinary methods guided by the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD) and Community Development theory. The FSSD provides a concrete definition of sustainability and includes methodological supports for co-creation of sustainability transitions. Community Development theory supports participatory approaches and welcomes different knowledge cultures in such co-creation. The Delphi Inquiry method was used to facilitate data collection and community engagement. For measurement-specific elements of the research, causal loop diagrams (CLD) informed by the Cultural Adaptation Template (CAT) theory were used, and Critical Dietetics was used as a framework for dietetics-specific analysis.

High level insights include that: (i) participatory and multidimensional approaches are important to facilitate community engagement in SFS development; (ii) objective parametres for defining sustainability are critical to guide concerted action and can provide an innovation space that invites creative and diverse solutions within; (iii) systems thinking and related tools help simplify the complexity of food systems without disregarding broader context, and support assessment in the absence of all data. Specifically in relation to the case community explored, insights include that, (i) integrating an SFS lens into existing roles and activities is important, because dietitians already work across sectors and scales, making them well positioned to contribute in diverse ways; (ii) a shared language based on transdisciplinary understandings of SFS is required; (iii) engaging in activities that facilitate SFS knowledge development within the profession, prior to integrating it into roles and activities, is an important first step; (iv) collaborative and reflexive approaches to continued knowledge development and practice are important, such that in the end sustainability becomes integrated into a cultural way of thinking about food.  

Based on these insights, this dissertation outlines a procedure for collaborative community work for globally SFS. The procedure is adaptable to various community settings. The dissertation also provides specific guidance for how dietitians could utilise their strategic positions throughout food systems to contribute to SFS development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona, Sweden: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2019. p. 246
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Doctoral Dissertation Series, ISSN 1653-2090 ; 15
Keywords
Sustainable food systems; strategic sustainable development; sustainable community development; nutrition; dietetics
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified Nutrition and Dietetics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-18803 (URN)978-91-7295-389-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-12-20, J1650 (Campus Gräsvik), Karlskrona, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-11-28 Created: 2019-11-27 Last updated: 2019-12-06Bibliographically approved

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Carlsson, LieselCallaghan, EdithBroman, Göran

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