How do we keep food on the plates of UK households in the coming decades? This is a central question for IKnowFood, a major collaborative research project launched in June, 2017.
Thanks to advances in agriculture and logistics, and the burgeoning of international trade, absolute food shortages are a distant memory in the UK, like other G7 countries. But the future resilience of food systems is a growing concern.
This is because food systems – and the patterns of food production, trade and consumption that underpin them – are increasingly vulnerable to political, economic and ecological shocks and stresses. These are associated with climatic and other environmental changes, shifts in farming practices, uneven power dynamics, rising demand, and evolving consumer lifestyles.
IKnowFood – Integrating Knowledge for Food Systems Resilience
IKnowFood seeks to throw light on the main obstacles to the future resilience of the UK food system, and how we can overcome them.
According to the project’s early working definition, food system resilience is “the ability of the system over time to learn, adapt and transform to cope at multiple levels with external and internal stresses and shocks in order to provide supplies of food that are economically, environmentally and nutritionally sustainable”.IKnowFood will weave together insights from multiple academic disciplines and stakeholders from all stages of the food system to develop new systems, tools and technologies that ensure the sustainable supply of nutritious food for future generations.