The Food Systems Lab has grown from our group's roots in sustainable sourcing and regional landscape assessment into a program on developing and improving the information management aspects of food system sustainability, in addition to continuing our core research areas. The primary focus of this cross-cutting informatics work is to improve how sustainability can be defined, measured, and operationalized by improving information management and connectivity among complex webs of challenges, data, and actors.
Our group has four focus areas:
Food Supply Chains – Critical review of issues in supply chains, including regenerative practices and indicators of key dimensions of food system sustainability and resilience for specific cases at various scales. We support comprehensive understanding of sustainability and resilience for a given commodity or value chain by providing publicly available and scientifically-validated information and analyses.
Working Landscapes – Integrated assessment of sustainability and resilience for specific landscapes or regions, providing information to enable informed decision-making. We support comprehensive understanding of specific locations by providing publicly available and scientifically-validated information for resource managers, policy makers, and civil society.
Data Curation, Analytics, and Visualization – We are using a linked open data approach to improve information connectivity among complex webs of challenges, data, and actors across food systems to better characterize and operationalize sustainability. We use a variety of visualization techniques to understand these complex relationships, especially the interplay between spatiality and networks of actors and resources.
Community Engagement and Policy Analysis – Facilitated dialogues and one-to-one communication with networks of stakeholders in multiple components of the food systems gives rise to projects and ground truths resulting work. We support good decision making by validating the practicality and value of analysis and recommendations designed to solve complex systemic challenges.