Food Systems Modelling

Food Systems Modelling

Tools for Assessing Sustainability in Food and Agriculture

1st Edition - January 8, 2022

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  • Editors: Christian Peters, Dawn Thilmany
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128221105
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128221129

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Food Systems Modelling emphasizes sustainability, including the impact of agriculture and food production on profits, people and environment, with a particular focus on the ability of humanity to continue producing food in the midst of global environmental change. Sections introduce the purpose of models, the definition of a food system, the importance of disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary inquiry, cover specific branches of modeling in the sustainability of food systems, and wrestle with the challenge of communicating modeling research and appropriately integrating multiple dimensions of sustainability. This book will be a welcomed reference for food scientists, agricultural scientists, nutritionists, environmental scientists, ecologists, economists, those working in agribusiness and food supply chain management, community and public health, and urban and regional planning, as well as academicians and graduate students interested in the sustainability of food systems.

Key Features

  • Emphasizes sustainability, including the impact of agriculture and food production on profits
  • Focuses on the ability of humanity to continue producing food in the midst of global environmental change
  • Deciphers what models can teach us about food system sustainability


Food scientists, agricultural scientists, nutritionists, environmental scientists, ecologists, economists, those working in agribusiness and food supply chain management, community and public health, and urban and regional planning, as well as academicians and graduate students interested in sustainability of food systems

Table of Contents

  • Cover Image
  • Title Page
  • Copyright
  • Table of Contents
  • Contributors
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1 Using models to study food systems
  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 Models and why we use them
  • 1.3 Models in food systems
  • 1.4 Types of models used to study food systems
  • 1.5 Stage of food production
  • 1.6 Three major types of models
  • 1.7 Common issues with models
  • 1.8 Organization of this book
  • Acknowledgements
  • References
  • Chapter 2 The origins, definitions and differences among concepts that underlie food systems modeling
  • Abstract
  • Keywords
  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Origins and definitions of terms
  • 2.3 Systems concepts
  • 2.4 Differences between sustainability and resilience and food systems and systems thinking
  • 2.5 Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 3 Life cycle assessment of food systems and diets
  • Abstract
  • Keywords
  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 A brief history of life cycle assessment
  • 3.3 The four phases of LCA
  • 3.4 Yogurt case study: LCIA result and interpretation example at midpoint
  • 3.5 Yogurt case study: LCIA results and interpretation at endpoint
  • 3.6 Including nutritional benefits and impacts in LCA
  • 3.7 Uncertainty in LCA
  • 3.8 Sensitivity analysis
  • 3.9 Gaps and further research needs
  • 3.10 Conclusions
  • Acknowledgements
  • References
  • Chapter 4 Water Footprint Assessment: towards water-wise food systems
  • Abstract
  • Key words
  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Accounting the consumptive water footprint of growing a crop
  • 4.3 Environmental sustainability, efficiency and equitability of the water footprint of food systems
  • 4.4 Towards water-wise food systems
  • References
  • Chapter 5 Land use modeling: from farm to food systems
  • Abstract
  • Keywords
  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Life cycle assessment
  • 5.3 Land use ratio
  • 5.4 Food systems approach – accounting for food system level interlinkages and circularity
  • 5.5 Pros and cons and recommendations for land use modeling
  • Acknowledgement
  • References
  • Chapter 6 Foodshed analysis and carrying capacity estimation
  • Abstract
  • Keywords
  • 6.1 Introduction
  • 6.2 History and conceptual foundations
  • 6.3 Methodology
  • 6.4 Results and implications
  • Acknowledgements
  • References
  • Chapter 7 Market and supply chain models for analysis of food systems
  • Abstract
  • Keywords
  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.2 Spatial optimization models (Transportation and transshipment models)
  • 7.3 Partial equilibrium models
  • 7.4 Dynamic supply chain models
  • 7.5 Concluding comments
  • References
  • Chapter 8 Using input-output analysis to estimate the economic impacts of food system initiatives
  • Abstract
  • Keywords
  • 8.1 Introduction
  • 8.2 Conclusion
  • Acknowledgements
  • Disclaimer
  • References
  • Chapter 9 Environmental Input-Output (EIO) Models for Food Systems Research: Application and Extensions*
  • Abstract
  • 9.1 Introduction
  • 9.2 Background
  • 9.3 Adapting the EIO framework for modeling food systems
  • 9.4 Application: a U.S. food economy EIO model
  • 9.5 Extensions: linear programming and comparative diets analysis
  • 9.6 Conclusion
  • Supplementary materials
  • Supplementary materials
  • References
  • Chapter 10 Modeling biophysical and socioeconomic interactions in food systems with the International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT)
  • Abstract
  • 10.1 Food system challenges
  • 10.2 How do we think about the future?
  • 10.3 The IMPACT model
  • 10.4 Scenario analysis using IMPACT
  • 10.5 Examples of IMPACT-based applications
  • 10.6 Use of modeling to inform decision making
  • 10.7 Lessons learned and conclusions
  • Acknowledgments
  • References
  • Chapter 11 Using social network analysis to understand and enhance local and regional food systems
  • Abstract
  • 11.1 Introduction
  • 11.2 A brief history and overview of social network analysis
  • 11.3 Emerging applications of SNA in food systems research and practice
  • 11.4 Designing a food systems network study
  • 11.5 Future opportunities for SNA in food systems research
  • 11.6 Implementing social network analysis going forward
  • 11.7 Conclusion
  • 11.8 Acknowledgement
  • References
  • Chapter 12 Participatory modeling of the food system: The case of community-based systems dynamics
  • Abstract
  • 12.1 Introduction
  • 12.2 Community-based systems dynamics
  • 12.3 Case study: foodNEST 2.0, modeling the future of food in your neighborhood
  • 12.4 Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter 13 Using models to understand community interventions for improving public health and food systems
  • Abstract
  • 13.1 Introduction
  • 13.2 Food systems change at the local level: Shape up Somerville intervention
  • 13.3 Understanding how coalitions achieve change: the stakeholder-driven community diffusion theory
  • 13.4 The SDCD theory in action
  • 13.5 The SDCD theory in action – community expansion
  • 13.6 Implications for food systems modeling
  • 13.7 Conclusion
  • Acknowledgement
  • References
  • Chapter 14 Applying environmental models in the food business context
  • Abstract
  • 14.1 Motivations for food companies to leverage environmental models
  • 14.2 Applications of environmental models within food companies
  • 14.3 Limitations in the application of environmental models in the food industry
  • 14.4 Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter 15 Inquiry within, between, and beyond disciplines
  • Abstract
  • 15.1 Introduction
  • 15.2 Food systems research and participatory team science
  • 15.3 Case study team: meeting the challenges of team science
  • 15.4 Team management and leadership
  • 15.5 Navigating collaborative science tensions
  • Acknowledgements
  • References
  • Chapter 16 Towards a holistic understanding of food systems
  • Abstract
  • 16.1 Introduction
  • 16.2 Epistemology and modeling
  • 16.3 Considering results from multiple models
  • 16.4 Application of models – from knowing to doing
  • 16.5 Future directions for the field
  • 16.6 Closing points
  • Acknowledgements
  • References
  • Glossary of terms
  • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 388
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2022
  • Published: January 8, 2022
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128221105
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128221129

About the Editors

Christian Peters

Christian J. Peters is a scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service where he leads the Food Systems Research Unit. Prior to joining USDA in 2021, Dr. Peters served on the faculty of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University teaching primarily in the Agriculture, Food, and Environment program. His research interests lie in the developing field of sustainability science, in the area of food systems. Within this broad, trans-disciplinary field, Dr. Peters currently focuses on three major topics: (1) Sustainability implications of dietary choices, (2) Land requirements of food consumption and carrying capacity of agricultural land resources, and (3) Production potential of local and regional food systems. Some of Dr. Peters’ most well-known work include spatial analyses of potential local foodsheds and models of the carrying capacity of New York State and the conterminous U.S. Dr. Peters received his Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Soil and Crop Sciences from Cornell University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from Rutgers University.

Affiliations and Expertise

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Food Systems Research Unit, Burlington, VT, USA

Dawn Thilmany

Dawn Thilmany is a Professor with Colorado State University, serving in that role since 1997, and specializes in economic development related to local, organic and other value-added food market segments, as well as food market analysis and consumer behavior. She is co-Director for CSU’s Regional Economic Development Institute, is on the leadership team for CSU Extension Food Systems program and has been a visiting scholar at both the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture and Economic Research Service. She has chaired the Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council and served on the US Dept of Agriculture’s Advisory Board on Research, Extension, Education and Economics. She has also served in leadership positions with the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, the Western Agricultural Economics Association, the Food Distribution Research Society and several regional research committees.

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA

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