Project: Research project

Project Details


National interest in the effects of the U.S. food system has risen to such a level that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies felt compelled recently to publish A Framework for Assessing Effects of the Food System (IOM/NRC 2015), focusing on health, environmental and economic and social variables. While providing a useful framework, the volume stops short of actually carrying out studies to validate or test the assumptions of the framework. In addition to having concrete effects, food systems are also being affected by powerful secular forces that range from rising income inequality, consolidation and rationalization in retailing, consumer preferences for local and regional foods, to changes in climate and competition for land associated with urbanization. In parallel, an expanding "food movement" has emerged that, without formal or vigorous analysis, has become highly critical of the food system and its consequent health, environmental and economic and social effects. Yet most if not all of these forces and their consequences can be analyzed using the tools and methods of economics. Bringing economic analysis to the vocal criticisms of the current food system can deepen the debate, help bridge divergent views and, it is hoped, enhance the long-term sustainability of the entire food system.A range of complex and interrelated socioeconomic, environmental and health-related issues arise in this context, which can only be addressed effectively from a comprehensive systems perspective. Yet most existing studies proceed to address only certain aspects of these systemic problems, and none comprehensively addresses health, environmental, social and economic dimensions. Although it will not be able to solve all problems related to the food system, the proposed conference seeks to begin to lay the initial groundwork in addressing this challenge by bringing researchers from different disciplines together and providing them with a framework to start to think about these interrelated issues. As outlined below, we consider a wide range of issues related to and affecting the food system, and will provide a forum for scientists who often work in silos to consider how their efforts may leverage and be leveraged by the work of other scientists, in the process producing more system-wide and effective solutions to problems. By bringing researchers with divergent perspectives and methodological approaches to the discussion, we can begin the process of reaching interdisciplinary solutions.

Effective start/end date3/1/182/29/20


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $49,493.00


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