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Global Food Systems Institute

Global Food Systems Institute

Metrics and Tools for Food System Analysis, Monitoring, Evaluation and Decision

This cross-cutting approach aims to:

  • Systems analysis approach to food systems
  • Use models to explore possible outcomes of alternative scenarios of food production and food systems.
  • Develop and adapt models to explore possible outcomes of alternative scenarios of household decision making in relation to nutrition, health, and livelihoods.
  • Develop assessment tools that help generate standardized information to measure progress over time.
  • Monitor the different pillars of current and alternative food systems (production, economics, livelihoods, social, and environment).

Across the different components of the food value chain, farmers, scientists, policymakers, retailers, consumers, and other stakeholders constantly shape the food systems through their actions and interactions. Decision makers at all levels (e.g., individuals, organizations, communities, governments, etc.) are faced with challenging tradeoffs that require them to act based on the information that they have available. Developing and/or disseminating valid and reliable information, metrics, and tools through quantitative and qualitative methods is, therefore, a key requisite to support and inform the decision-making process of all stakeholders.

Data analytics, modeling, metrics, and systems analysis, ranging from climate to social sciences are necessary to provide accurate, relevant, timely, and evidence-based information to enhance the decision-making process in food systems. Stakeholders range from the farmer that has to identify the optimal time to plant his crop, the food processor who must ensure that the products are maintained at the right temperature, the policymaker who wishes to establish enabling environments where food systems are vibrant and sustainable, and finally the consumer, who has to make an informed decision about purchasing nutritious foods. Tools and research methods will vary with the scientific discipline and stakeholders. Members of FSI have actively engaged in developing indicators, tools, models, evaluation methods, and decision support systems for cropping, livestock and fisheries that can be applied to the broader food system.

The goal of this cross-cutting theme is to identify, develop and promote methods, approaches, and tools to understand the components of the food systems and their interactions using a systems analysis approach and to assess the impact of changes that will lead to “providing safe and nutritious food for a teeming global population while enhancing livelihoods, societies, and the environment” in order to support informed and actionable decision making.

Areas of Interest

  • What tools can be used to determine if our food system is sustainable, efficient, fair, economically viable, or resilient?
  • What are the important indicators for assessing environmental health, community and family livelihoods, health and safety, profitability, free trade, poverty, malnutrition, rule of law of food systems?
  • What are the key factors influencing the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of policies and regulations, technological innovations, social interventions, etc.?
  • Which investments will have the greatest impact in promoting sustainable food systems at given times (e.g., infrastructure, genetic research, disease control, market analysis, community structure, information technology, education, etc.)?

GFSI Leads for the Metrics and Tools cross-cutting approach are Sebastian Galindo and Gerrit Hoogenboom