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Research article2005Peer reviewed

On the importance of tightening feedback loops for sustainable development of food systems

Sundkvist A, Milestad R, Jansson AM


In the process of searching for sustainable trajectories in the food system, this paper reviews and discusses the importance of tightening feedback loops between ecosystems, actors in the food production chain and consumers. Intensification, specialization, distancing, concentration and homogenization are trends identified as major constraints for tightened feedback loops. These trends can mask or make it possible to disregard feedback signals from unhealthy ecosystems and weaken communication in the food chain. We explore possibilities for improved feedback management on local to global scales and present examples where feedback loops have been tightened. Enhanced communication between the actors in the food system and consciousness of ecological feedback, through e.g., increased reliance on local resources, are possibilities for improvement. However, where distances between resource and resource user are too large, feedback has to be directed through institutions on an overarching level, e.g., policy measures or environmental and social labelling of products. (C) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

Published in

Food Policy
2005, Volume: 30, number: 2, pages: 224-239

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
    Economics and Business
    Social Sciences

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)