Research Topic

The Many Faces of Sustainable Food

About this Research Topic

Sustainability is the great watchword of our times. It is commonly resolved into the three pillars of environmental, social and economic sustainability, but there are other important dimensions. Increasingly, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are taken as a set of aspirations, grouped into 17 areas, for transforming our world towards sustainability in the years leading up to 2030. Food systems feature prominently in the SDGs, but the 17 areas overlap, and programmes for achieving them reveal tensions. How sustainable are these ideas of sustainability themselves? Do they provide a durable normative foundation for global research and development in our fast-changing world? What vision should guide the next iteration of UN global goals, and what role can sustainable food systems play in this global vision?

International deliberations over global goals are inevitably informed by diverse visions of good. While the UN SDGs have been widely endorsed and adopted, arguably with considerable benefit, they are also critiqued for the priorities they express and what they leave out. In shaping future policies, plans and mission statements, leaders of all kinds of organisations should be able to draw on broad-minded research into the diverse aspects of sustainability and the common good more generally. Taking food systems in the broadest sense as a focus and case study, this Research Topic will draw together reflective analyses of what sustainability might be taken to mean, how its many aspects interrelate, and the extent to which widely-endorsed goods such as justice, peace and love may be subsumed under the banner of sustainability. Since food systems are both foundational to and facilitative of human fulfilment, a focus on food and eating provides focus without narrowing the scope of this collection.

We seek opinion papers, perspectives, reviews, hypotheses and original research articles that focus on one or more aspects of sustainability or the common good (see key-words for suggestions) in exploring the meanings and implications of sustainable food systems. Submissions from all disciplines are sought, and inter-disciplinary approaches especially encouraged. Application to food systems in the broadest sense, from farming via distribution to dining, is encouraged although not obligatory. (Articles insufficiently focused on food may be transferred to other Frontiers journals).


Keywords: Nutritive, Ecological, Sensory, Innovative, Media, Social, Economic, Aesthetic, Political


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Sustainability is the great watchword of our times. It is commonly resolved into the three pillars of environmental, social and economic sustainability, but there are other important dimensions. Increasingly, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are taken as a set of aspirations, grouped into 17 areas, for transforming our world towards sustainability in the years leading up to 2030. Food systems feature prominently in the SDGs, but the 17 areas overlap, and programmes for achieving them reveal tensions. How sustainable are these ideas of sustainability themselves? Do they provide a durable normative foundation for global research and development in our fast-changing world? What vision should guide the next iteration of UN global goals, and what role can sustainable food systems play in this global vision?

International deliberations over global goals are inevitably informed by diverse visions of good. While the UN SDGs have been widely endorsed and adopted, arguably with considerable benefit, they are also critiqued for the priorities they express and what they leave out. In shaping future policies, plans and mission statements, leaders of all kinds of organisations should be able to draw on broad-minded research into the diverse aspects of sustainability and the common good more generally. Taking food systems in the broadest sense as a focus and case study, this Research Topic will draw together reflective analyses of what sustainability might be taken to mean, how its many aspects interrelate, and the extent to which widely-endorsed goods such as justice, peace and love may be subsumed under the banner of sustainability. Since food systems are both foundational to and facilitative of human fulfilment, a focus on food and eating provides focus without narrowing the scope of this collection.

We seek opinion papers, perspectives, reviews, hypotheses and original research articles that focus on one or more aspects of sustainability or the common good (see key-words for suggestions) in exploring the meanings and implications of sustainable food systems. Submissions from all disciplines are sought, and inter-disciplinary approaches especially encouraged. Application to food systems in the broadest sense, from farming via distribution to dining, is encouraged although not obligatory. (Articles insufficiently focused on food may be transferred to other Frontiers journals).


Keywords: Nutritive, Ecological, Sensory, Innovative, Media, Social, Economic, Aesthetic, Political


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 September 2021 Abstract
31 March 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 September 2021 Abstract
31 March 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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