Research Topic

Food, Nature & Health: Dueling Epistemologies

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Who is responsible for the health of the food system? In the market system that dominates the U.S. and many industrialized countries of the Global North, the health of the food system, including conditions of soil, labor, water and air, are generally invisible to all but a few specialized professionals and ...

Who is responsible for the health of the food system? In the market system that dominates the U.S. and many industrialized countries of the Global North, the health of the food system, including conditions of soil, labor, water and air, are generally invisible to all but a few specialized professionals and farmers. Producing and making accessible food that sustains the fertility of the ecosystem and nourishes the health of the consumer requires attention to a breadth of issues not generally addressed in one place. However, over the past two decades, the importance of addressing the full complexity of the food system, in ways that draw on new approaches to knowledge generation and new paradigms of research, has attracted greater awareness. In some cultures, the health of animals, plants and ecosystems are considered to be the responsibility of all society; some cosmologies regard animals as part of the human family as well. The concept of buen vivir which underlies new approaches to development in Bolivia and Ecuador positions humans as inseparable from nature, and perceives "good living" to be manifest in harmony with nature and other people. What might we learn from other belief systems about creating and caring for food systems that ultimately sustain the well-being of each and every living thing on this planet? How is food system health connected with the ways that we use and abuse animals, from overuse of sub-therapeutic antibiotics to inhumane slaughtering practices? How do the cultural stories that children imbibe affect their relationships with food? How can we turn our attention and focus to measuring the well-being of the most fundamental elements of our existence, rather than economic productivity, as our foremost goals?

We welcome you to contribute to the current field of food system analysis with articles addressing the following domains:
• Approaches to changing belief systems, values, assumptions and relationships to the food system;
• Analysis of the impacts of food system health on human health;
• Analysis of how different socioeconomic structures (cooperative ventures, direct marketing, learning how to grow one's own food, etc.) affect values and beliefs about the food system and its potential for change;
• Comparisons of the impacts of different beliefs related to food systems on ecosystem and human health;
• Innovative research methods being developed to integrate the key domains of the food system (production, processing, distribution, marketing and consuming) in analysis.

We particularly encourage submission of interdisciplinary methods and analysis.

This Research Topic will explore the nexus of public health, food system health, food behavior and foodways. The Guest Editors (nutrition and food system educators and teachers) are especially interested in articles that suggest pathways to healthier relationships with food and within the food system.


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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