How organic food systems support sustainability of diets

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

Johannes Kahl, Carola Strassner, Susanne Gjedsted Bügel, Denis Lairon, Flavio Paoletti

Sustainable models are needed in order to transform the current food systems. This chapter presents arguments for using organic food systems as such a model. Food systems can be recognized as coupled human and natural systems, with a set activities and outcomes in which the boundaries of the system can be defined. This chapter takes sustainability as an inherent property of a food system. The identification of 'enabling mechanisms' from the organic food system actors' perspective may give insights to drivers and factors shaping food systems towards enhanced sustainability. Organic food systems are driven by both codified principles and value-based ethical and personal responsibilities. Organic production practices are specified in international and national standards and regulations, and are undergoing continual transformation processes. Organic farming is currently practiced in 172 countries by 2.3 million producers, and consumer demand is documented by a present market size of US$80 billion, thus a lot of experience and data are already available. As organic farming provides a whole range of ecosystem services and promotes biodiversity, it may contribute to environmental sustainability. Studies have shown that consumers who regularly buy and eat organic food seem to link health and environmental sustainability through their food choices. This indicates that the organic food systems may also contribute to sustainable diets in theory and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Diets : Linking Nutrition and Food Systems
EditorsBarbara Burlingame, Sandro Dernini
Number of pages8
Place of PublicationOxfordshire
PublisherCABI Publishing
Publication date2019
Pages232-239
Chapter24
ISBN (Print)9781786392848
ISBN (Electronic)9781786392862
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 212201882