Concepts & methodology

The FIT4FOOD2030 project is built on a number of central concepts and approaches that are key to the successfully establish the FOOD2030 Platform and which are integrated into a phased plan of activities .

Future-proof food systems
FOOD 2030 introduces a ‘food system’ approach which considers and integrates the entire ‘value chain’ from inputs, to primary production (agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries), harvesting, storage, processing, packing, distribution, waste streams to consumer intake and back. This understanding also goes beyond the production and delivery of a sufficient amount of food for all by including the provision of safe and nutritious food for healthy and sustainable diets in the long-term.

To become future proof, food systems need to become resilient and need to be able to tackle the joint challenges of climate change, environmental sustainability of food production and consumption, non-communicable diseases, migratory flows, emerging trade issues within and outside the EU, livelihood of rural areas, and interplay with the wider bio-economy strategy.

The food system approach helps to provide space for discussion on adaptation options to improve outcomes across the food system, provides a framework for the systematic analysis of the synergies and trade-offs of interventions, and serves as a ‘checklist’ to ensure that the right people are engaged in the discussion. [1]

Responsible Research & Innovation (RRI) and Open Science (OSc)
RRI is a dynamic, iterative process where all stakeholders involved in the R&I practice become mutually responsive and share responsibility regarding the RRI outcomes and process requirements. RRI activities aim to align a wide range of actors and activities involved in R&I processes towards desirable, sustainable and acceptable future outcomes. To reach these outcomes R&I processes must become:

  • Diverse & inclusive: from the outset involve a wide range of actors that engage in R&I practice, deliberation, and decision-making to yield more useful knowledge. In addition to involving NGOs and CSOs, FIT4FOOD2030 will also engage with consumers, citizens, SMEs, farmers, fishermen, educators, health workers, and others.
  • Anticipative & reflective: envision impacts and reflect on the underlying assumptions, values, and purposes to better understand how R&I shapes the future.
  • Open & transparent: communicate throughout the process in a balanced, meaningful way to enable public scrutiny and dialogue, benefiting the visibility of R&I.
  • Responsive & adaptive to change: be able to modify modes of thought and behaviour, and adapt overarching structures, in response to changing knowledge, and perspectives.

Our understanding of RRI also encompasses OSc, aiming to make scientific research, data and dissemination accessible to other scientists and society to better facilitate collaboration. Within the context of FNS, OSc entails the development of cloud-based data infrastructures to allow different stakeholders to benefit from the ‘big data’ revolution in a responsible way.

Community of Practice (CoP)
In order to ensure its continuation, the emerging FOOD2030 platform will need to become self-sustainable which will be achieved by using a CoP approach to network governance. [2] Building a CoP starts with bringing together multiple actors who form a community around a domain of interest with a shared passion or a sense of urgency to progress together. The most successful CoPs (1) are driven by intrinsically motivated members (2) stimulate the imagination of participants and promote ‘out of the box thinking’, (3) are flexible and can adapt their activities according to the changing boundaries of the CoP, and (4) develop collaborative relationships and norms amongst members. Through such mutual engagement CoP members can create innovative solutions and new practices.

International collaboration
The project consortium has been put together with partners that can provide evidence of having a large number of collaborations with non-European countries and global oriented initiatives in the context of FNS. FIT4FOOD2030 project fosters a unique integration of existing and arising networks and infrastructures of which many are part of the consortium. There are strong links with the following:

  • Member State driven R&I programming initiatives that deal with FNS, such as the JPIs, the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research (SCAR), Partnerships for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) and private-public R&I programming initiatives, such as the ETPs Food for Life, the European Institute of Technology (EIT) Food, and the International Life Science Institute (ILSI) Europe. Importantly, a link to cities and regions is foreseen through the involvement of the MUFPP, bringing together world cities ever to foster food systems based on the principles of sustainability and social justice.
  • An international network on food systems research (SUSFANS) and food system innovation (EIT Food), that provides outstanding competences for bringing in state-of-the-art insights in food systems trends and research, (show)cases and breakthroughs.

References

  1. Ingram, J.S.I. (2011). From Food Production to Food Security: Developing interdisciplinary, regional-level research. Wageningen University.
  2. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge University Press.