Wicked problems in food system solutions

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Award Year: 
Principal Investigator: 
Verena Seufert, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Graham MacDonald, McGill University
Associated Program: 


‘Wicked problems’ describe complex socio-environmental challenges, where efforts  to  solve  one  part  of  a  problem  can  lead  to  unintended  new  problems. Proposals to improve  food  systems sustainability often have disparate emphasison  either  ‘supply  side’  or ‘demand   side’ strategies—targeting   either social   and   environmental   dimensions   of   food production or socioeconomic,  health,  and  nutritional  dimensions  of  food  consumption. Food system  sustainability  strategies are  also  often aimed  at  a  relatively  small  set  of  social  or environmental  outcomes  or are formulated  without  considering  linkages  to  solutions  in  other parts  of  the  food  system  (either  geographically  or  along  food  supply  chains). 

This Workshop will therefore be centered around two main questions:

(1) How can we move from conceptual models to quantitative assessments of wicked food system problems within different types ofglobal models?

(2) What capabilities do specific globalspatially-explicit food system models (e.g., PLUM-LPJ-GUESS, MAgPIE, and INRA-Organic) have in representing multiple potential wicked food system dynamics?

Roni Neff, Johns Hopkins University
Hannah Wittman, University of British Columbia
Thomas Nesme, University of Bordeaux Sciences Agro
Pietro Barbieri, Institut National Recherche Agronomique (INRA)
Rachael Garrett, Boston University
Sam Rabin, Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research Atmospheric Environmental Research (IMK-IFU)
Luis Lassaletta, Utrecht University
Herrman Lotze-Campen, Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Almut Arneth, Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research Atmospheric Environmental Research (IMK-IFU)
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