The Foodlinks project will research methods of sustainable food production.

Promoting sustainable food consumption and production

Cardiff University

Researchers: Roberta Sonnino, Kevin Morgan

Funder: European Commission

A project focused on sustainable food production and consumption is aiming to exploit existing food research in novel and innovative ways to facilitate knowledge-brokerage between researchers, policy makers and civil society organisations.

The Foodlinks project is funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission and is being carried out by a consortium of 14 partners (universities, regional and local governments and civil society organisations) from the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Latvia, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Spain and France.

Concerns about food quality and safety, nutrition, food security, and carbon footprints, have driven the emerging new food geography, which is developing along three partly interrelated lines:

  1. Short producer to consumer food chains - new relations between civil society and the chain of food provision.
  2. Re-valuing food procurement - new relations between the public sector and the chain of food provision.
  3. Urban food strategies - the rise of municipalities and city-regions as food policy makers, pointing to new relations between the government and civil society.

To support bringing the new food geography into the policy arena Foodlinks is analysing and engaging in knowledge brokerage activities to create effective linkages between scientists, civil society actors and policy makers. To achieve this, Communities of Practice have been established in each of the three themes.

The Communities of Practice go through different phases (scoping, envisioning, exploring the existing knowledge reservoir and reflecting on learning) in which knowledge brokerage can fulfil different functions including exchange, transfer, translation and dissemination.