Wicked Problems in Food Systems Solutions

Full Title

Wicked problems in food system solutions


‘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 emphasis on 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 center around two main questions:

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

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

Project Type
Team Synthesis Project
Principal Investigators
Verena Seufert, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Graham MacDonald, McGill University
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 D. 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)