Potential Opportunities and Supporting Resources

In developing the Climate Change and Food Systems Report, the Authors reviewed peer-reviewed literature to identify mitigation opportunities and their adaptation potential related to a broad range of food system activities. In the tables, available from this webpage, we summarized peer-reviewed information on mitigation opportunities, adaptation potential, and food system implications regarding a range of food system activities.

Our review focused on peer-reviewed literature of production in several regions, including Central and South America, Africa, South Asia, North America, and New Zealand. In addition, we reviewed global literature on possible opportunities for mitigation and adaptation in post-production, consumption, and waste management. We recognize the limitations of the current body of peer-reviewed literature, which tends to ignore or discount local and indigenous knowledge and is largely focused on individual elements of food systems and on opportunities that would result in incremental changes.

Although major transformations are required to create sustainable food systems, immediate actions – even though they may result in incremental changes – can support transitions to sustainability. However, for incremental steps to contribute to transformational changes, it is important that stakeholders define sustainability and measure unsustainability. Stakeholders should work together to understand what interests, ideas and institutions contributed to the current structures, ideas, institutions, policies, and practices. Stakeholders can then work together to identify their shared interests as well as obstacles that need to be overcome. Such understanding will enable stakeholders to choose near-term actions that can lead towards sustainability.

The resources available from this website are intended as a starting point for stakeholders who are working to build sustainable food systems and are considering a range of near-term interventions. Much additional experience and knowledge from farmers, peasants, indigenous groups and other practitioners should be consulted for a full understanding of these and additional potential interventions. 

Specific interventions will vary depending on conditions in specific countries or regions. It is important to consider the different food systems that are present in a given country, in order to: link differences in food systems to observed variation in nutrition, health, and sustainability outcomes; develop policy recommendations based on food system characteristics; and identify and learn from countries with better nutrition, health, and sustainability outcomes (International Food Policy Research Institute, 2015).

For more information or for assistance in identifying additional resources, please contact Meridian Institute (rraimond@merid.org). We are glad to connect you with the authors of this report and other experts.