Foodsource exists to support those teaching, learning and communicating about food systems and sustainability. It provides access to clear, accurate, agenda-free knowledge.

We believe that improving food systems literacy is vital for addressing global challenges, and that common understanding promotes collective and effective action – across disciplines, sectors, and society.

Foodsource is an open and expanding resource, led by the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN) at Oxford University, and developed in collaboration with our partners and supporters.

Can you help us improve Foodsource? Let us know.

What is foodsource?

foodsource is a project of the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN) at the University of Oxford.  Our aim in developing foodsource is to provide users with accurate, clear, accessible and agenda-free knowledge about food systems and sustainability. 

foodsource consists of 10 informally peer-reviewed chapters providing a clear, accessible, balanced and scientifically robust overview of the many interlinked social and environmental issues related to our food system.

foodsource is free to all to use: we hope it will be of interest to students, teachers, lecturers and researchers as well as civil society organisations, those involved directly in the food industry and policy makers.

Who is it for?

We hope that foodsource will be useful to anyone who wants to know more about food systems and sustainability - but it should be of particular value to:

  • Students, teachers and lecturers who need a reliable source of information to draw on for their studies or lectures
  • Researchers and academics who may be highly knowledgeable about one or a few aspects of food systems but who wish to develop a broader and more holistic understanding of the issues, and to see how 'their' issue fits into the big picture
  • Civil society organisations in need of an accurate evidence base for their activities and campaigns
  • Those in the food industry who seek to increase their knowledge and understanding about the challenges their sector faces
  • Policy makers requiring issue-specific information but who also need to understand the systems context the issue sits within.
Who is behind it?

foodsource is a project of the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN) at the University of Oxford.

The FCRN is an interdisciplinary and international network operating at the intersection of food, climate, and broader sustainability issues. Our principles of impartiality, academic rigour and interdisciplinarity inform our vision of a fair, healthy and ethical food system that sits within environmental limits. 

Our mission is to foster the informed dialogue and critical thinking needed to build mutual understanding and collective action on food systems sustainability. 

To this end we work to: 

  • Produce, disseminate and communicate accurate, agenda-free and interdisciplinary knowledge;
  • Provide real and virtual spaces for stakeholders to share knowledge and perspectives;
  • Broker dialogues on emerging or controversial issues across sectors, disciplines and ideologies 

We are based at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute and form part of the Oxford Martin School Programme on the Future of Food.

What do we do?

Making the most of our unique bridging role between academia, civil society and policy we:

Produce research and research synthesis on ‘difficult’ or emerging areas of critical concern for the food system. We have published on topics that include: the contested concept of ‘sustainable intensification’, sustainable diets, the evolution of food systems in China, and the relationship between animal welfare and livestock intensification.

Act as a knowledge hub: we summarise and make accessible and available the research of others, through our comprehensive online research library (with 3500+ documents summarised); Fodder, our weekly newsletter; and our interview, debates and blogs series.

Link people together and broker dialogues via our knowledge exchange forums and membership pages. Our 1400 network members span over 70 countries, and are drawn from academia, civil society, policy and industry.

What does this achieve?

Our commitment to: producing our own interdisciplinary, agenda-free research; communicating both our work and that of others; and providing spaces for multiple perspectives to be heard, enable us to:

  • Fill the need for a trusted, free and impartial source of knowledge and act as a knowledge brokerfor the diverse audiences who use it
  • Show the big picture and diverse perspectives – stakeholders need to see how their particular concern or approach fits into the larger food challenge.
  • Help research deliver impact by making it accessible and relevant to non-specialists.
  • Inform policy through our research analysis, our events and representation on advisory groups. 
  • Connect people, institutions and expertise so that ideas are shared and collaborations formed
  • And in so doing, ultimately help shape the narrative on food system sustainability.

Join the network

The FCRN website provides a space where people from diverse disciplines, sectors and geographies can come together to debate and collaborate. 

We welcome you to join the FCRN network as a member by registering a profile on our website. 

Registration is free and open to everyone.  Our members include academics, policy makers, representatives of the food industry, civil society organisations, students and interested individuals.

By creating a profile and joining as a member you will not only receive Fodder, our weekly newsletter; membership also enables you to get in touch with all the other FCRN network members, to see what work they are doing, and perhaps explore collaborations.  You will also be able to ask and answer questions on our Forum pages, comment on our reports and other website content, write blog posts about your work, and more. In short, becoming a member is a great way to expand your professional network and connect with a global web of researchers, practitioners and policymakers working at the intersection of food, climate, and broader sustainability issues.

If you have any questions please contact the FCRN’s Communications and network development officer Marie Persson: mariepersson@fcrn.org.uk.   

Who has contributed to it?

foodsource is a project of the Food Climate Research Network at the University of Oxford. Led by Tara Garnett, the resource builds upon presentations she has given over the course of many years, which have been very substantially developed and extended by Will Nicholson, Jessica Finch and Tara Garnett.

Additional material and suggestions have also been generously and helpfully provided by Professor Tim Benton (particularly Chapters 1, 5 and 6), Dr Pete Scarborough (mainly Chapter 8), Dr Elin Röös (large chunks of Chapter 2), Professor Pete Smith (mainly Chapter 3) and Professor David Little (parts of Chapter 5).

Additional reviews, comments and input have been provided by Marie Persson (FCRN), Mara Galeano Carraro and the FCRN’s Advisory Board. Many people have also very kindly given their time to review the slides: we are especially grateful to Professor Mike Hamm, Dr Elin Röös, Dr Peter Scarborough, Dr Tim Hess, Professor Tim Key, Professor Tim Benton, Professor David Little and Professor Peter Smith. However, any inaccuracies and errors are of course our responsibility.

Who has funded it?

Foodsource has been made possible with generous support from the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation, the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, the Wellcome Trust, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Jam Today, the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and the Sustainable Consumption Institute at Manchester University

What's next for foodsource?

We see foodsource as a work in progress. Our goal now is to secure funding to maintain foodsource as a living and growing resource.  Specifically we seek support to:

  • Expand foodsource: increasing the range of topics covered (e.g. new chapters on the political economy of food, the multiple influences on consumption practices, on food losses and waste, and on aquaculture). We will do this by engaging with our academic collaborators
  • Create a foodsource advisory board comprising academics and end users (including civil society and other organisations) to ensure that the evolving content is both:
    • intellectually robust, and
    • clear, accessible and useful
  • Develop other formats for disseminating knowledge, such as webinars where invited experts guide participants through key issues summarised in foodsource and which provide a platform for further discussion and debate

Can you support us?

If you are potentially interested in supporting foodsource, or know of funders who may be able to help, please contact Tara Garnett on taragarnett@fcrn.org.uk

Give your feedback on foodsource

We actively welcome your comments and suggestions on how we can improve and expand foodsource. We are particularly keen to hear:

  • your ideas on ‘issue gaps’ we should address that either need including in existing chapters or that merit their own chapter
  • about inaccuracies you find in the content
  • your thoughts on ways to make foodsource clearer and more accessible to users
  • suggestions for how this resource could evolve and expand its impact.

Please send your feedback to Marie Persson.