Submissions welcome: "Sustainability" Special Issue on "Smart and Connected Regional Food Systems"
Thomas P. Tomich, Founder, Food Systems Lab, and Ohio State's Casey Hoy to co-edit forthcoming Special Issue of Sustainability: "Smart & Connected Regional Food Systems".
Special Issue Information
Focus, scope and purpose: Interest in where food comes from and how it is produced, processed, and distributed has increased over the last few decades in industrialized nations. Mounting evidence and experience point to profound disturbing weaknesses in our food systems’ abilities to support human livelihoods and wellbeing, and alarming long-term trends regarding both the environmental footprint of food systems and mounting vulnerabilities to shocks and stressors. Addressing these weaknesses in food systems could open key opportunities to leverage inclusive, equitable, sustainable, and resilient growth in economic, social and natural capitals. The focus of this special issue is a growing wave of innovations that hold potential to address the underlying deficiencies in data and analytical capabilities that inhibit innovation in and sustainable transformation of our food systems. The scope of the SI spans computation, informatics, and data science innovations in network engagement, analytics, and translation to enable equitable access to better data and assessment capabilities for use by food system actors and advocates, and to facilitate co-creation of innovative solutions. Topics may include new conceptualizations and applied use cases employing innovative information exchange standards (including ontologies, controlled vocabularies, and data schemas), decentralized data infrastructures, knowledge graphs derived from use cases of food system challenges and opportunities, generalized workflows, legal frameworks and data governance standards, and user interfaces (UI/UX), as components of an intelligent food system. The overarching purpose is to enhance equity, sustainability, and resilience through collaborative, user-driven experimentation within complex food systems, supported by diverse agroecosystems, circular economies, and equity-based cultural norms.
Relationship to existing literature: There are studies that take a partial approach to these opportunities, covering some aspects (economic, environmental, or social) but missing others, thereby failing to provide a comprehensive framework for food system sustainability and resilience. Among these, some use top-down, static approaches, while those that are more innovative in data science tend to be proprietary, and hence exclusive (and unpublished). We emphasize articles that take an open approach to data, seek interoperability among linked data and tools, and strive for holistic, comprehensive, and dynamic approaches to challenges and opportunities to support food system sustainability. This encompasses tools for systems analysis as well as community engagement, incubation of entrepreneurship, and legal aspects of data sharing (IP, privacy, and data ethics).
This special issue is now open for submission. Deadline for manuscript submissions extended: 31 October 2021.