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How to “flip the tortilla”: Exploring opportunities for a more sustainable food system in Spain through TEK-driven innovation
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The modern global food system is a main driver of the Anthropocene: Food production entails profound global environmental changes from greenhouse gas emissions to biodiversity loss. Shifting diets further impact planetary and human health. Innovative approaches are needed to shift towards more sustainable, equitable and healthy food systems. Following the ‘Seeds of Good Anthropocenes’ project, this thesis analyses innovative initiatives that have the potential to make the food system more sustainable. More specifically, building on the increasing recognition of the importance of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) in sustainable food systems, this thesis explores initiatives that are using TEK to improve food systems in Spain. This study conceptualizes the food system as a complex social-ecological system and builds on transformations theory, the concepts of social-ecological innovation, leverage points and TEK. It uses a case-study approach and is set in three different regions in Mediterranean Spain, where I conducted and analyzed 12 semi-structured interviews with food seed initiatives. I found that the initiatives’ main drive was towards enhancing food values that are linked to traditional food production, which are not currently widely appreciated. The presence of TEK can inspire different innovations within the food system, whereas the absence of TEK can present barriers to innovation. Most importantly, the absence of gastronomic knowledge among consumers on how to process and prepare local varieties and species was found to hinder the implementation of shorter value chains, that are recognized as an efficient approach for sustainable food systems. By reintroducing gastronomic TEK, direct consumer-producer links were strengthened. Such innovative applications of TEK can help to safeguard biocultural diversity that is crucial for the transformation of food systems towards sustainability. I suggest that taking into account the presence of TEK can enhance the success of conventional systems of innovation that emphasize scientific and technological knowledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 68
Keywords [en]
food systems, social-ecological innovation, traditional ecological knowledge, Spain, seeds of good anthropocenes, small-scale initiatives
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-157409OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-157409DiVA, id: diva2:1220071
External cooperation
University of Vic, Central University of Catalonia
Presentation
2018-06-14, 10:00 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-18 Created: 2018-06-18 Last updated: 2018-06-18Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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More languages
Output format
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