The term "sustainable food systems" is increasingly used in science, politics and civil society. It emphasizes the systemic connections between agricultural production, ecology and social nutritional behaviour. In order to make food systems more sustainable, the production, processing, marketing and consumption of food must be considered together and the systemic interrelationships must be consistently taken into account.

Complex sustainability demands are made on agriculture and the food industry by society. These include sustainable use of natural resources, commitment to animal welfare, climate protection measures, the preservation of diverse landscapes, transparency and, last but not least, the production of healthy food. Meeting these demands while remaining competitive within the EU and in globally integrated markets is a challenge. In addition, the effects of nutrition on health and the social costs of malnutrition patterns are discussed.

Science is able to generate knowledge about the sustainability of food systems and the interaction between agricultural and food policy, and to develop control concepts based on this knowledge. Furthermore, science can help structure the debate between society and the agricultural sector. As part of FoodBerlin, we work interdisciplinary on the following topics:

  • Communication and dialogue

Societal demands on sustainable food systems have to be formulated and confronted with the realities of current agricultural systems in particular. As illustrated by the example of the societal debate on livestock husbandry, an intensive dialogue between society, the agricultural profession and other actors in the sector is necessary in order to develop socially acceptable, but also economically and socially feasible future paths for the agricultural sector.

  • Framework conditions for sustainable food systems

The implementation of societal sustainability requires not only operationalisation but also the development of control and financing strategies. This is a central challenge, because the international trade integration of the agri-food industry hardly makes it possible to finance sustainability measures exclusively via the market.

Existing expertise: the conflicting priorities of society - agriculture - animal welfare, EU agricultural policy, international agricultural trade, multifunctional agriculture, actors in agricultural policy, development of simulation models for the analysis of economic and rural development, discourse analysis, food governance, transformation.

Contact person:

Prof. Dr. Harald Grethe
International Agricultural Trade and Development, HU Berlin

Prof. Dr. Peter Feindt
Agricultural and food policy, HU Berlin