Urban food waste solutions from farm-to-fork

November 4, 2019 Dr. Callie Babbitt Faculty: Callie Babbitt

A conference for advancing sustainable urban systems (SUS) research networks

Faced with a growing population and a shrinking pool of natural resources, urban areas face an unprecedented challenge to provide a resilient food supply. This challenge is made even more complex by the vast resource consumption and resulting waste generated across the food supply chain. Transforming a wasteful, inefficient urban food system into a sustainable, regenerative urban resource will require researchers and stakeholders to co-develop knowledge together. They will need a deep understanding of both the fundamental drivers causing food to be lost along the food supply chain and novel solutions for reducing these losses and recovering energy and value from inevitable wastes. Sustainable urban food solutions require novel research approaches, organized under the principle of convergence. This approach integrates knowledge and methods across disciplines, and carried out via collaborations between scientific researchers and stakeholders in the food supply chain.

Our Sustainable Urban Systems (SUS) workshop aimed to catalyze new collaborations, provide a platform for exchanging knowledge across fields, and establish a sustainable urban systems research agenda. Our workshop was organized around the specific and compelling problem of sustaining the urban food system by minimizing and managing food waste for broad social, economic, and environmental benefit. Key outcomes were:

  1. Creation of a shared understanding of food waste challenges at the urban scale, informed by individuals and organizations representing varied disciplines, perspectives, regions, and sectors;

  2. Identification of fundamental, boundary-spanning research questions that can be addressed through new research collaborations across disciplines;

  3. Establishment of interdisciplinary research networks that are poised to begin and to grow new transformational collaborations.

Download the report