Agriculture and food systems

Smallholder sorting “papalisa” (Ullucus tuberosus), a delicious Andean tuber, Department of Cochabamba, Bolivia. Photo: Sarah-Lan Mathez-Stiefel


All people have the right to sufficient healthy, affordable, and culturally acceptable food at all times. For this reason, it is critical to design not only sustainable farming practices and agricultural policies, but also sustainable food systems more broadly. These encompass all the factors involved in production, processing, delivery, and eating of food – including the impacts of these activities. Food systems also bear major potential for creation of thriving, liveable human–nature relationships.

CDE researches approaches and levers that support comprehensive sustainability of food systems while accounting for their complexity. This ranges from safeguarding of productive foundations and agrobiodiversity to the design of food distribution and consumption. Here, special attention is given to the food sovereignty of vulnerable populations and (gender-)equitable implementation of sustainable food systems.

Initiatives

CLOC Eastern Africa
GLP - Global Land Programme

Ongoing projects

Agripath – Sustainable agriculture through effective and efficient digital pathways 
Agroecology and safe food system transitions in Southeast Asia (ASSET) 
BIO-TRADE – Protecting biodiversity through regulating trade and international business
Cities for sustainable food systems
Community for applied agricultural sustainability teaching (CAAST)
Environmental justice for human well-being (COMPASS) 
The importance of processing and trade for sustainable food systems
JUST FOOD: Tackling inequalities on the way to sustainable food systems
OPTAIN – Optimal strategies to retain and re-use water and nutrients in small agricultural catchments
Pha Khao Lao
Scenarios for a sustainable food system in Switzerland
SHOWCASE - Showcasing synergies between agriculture, biodiversity, and ecosystem services
Sustainable trade relations for diversified food systems
Why do we work? Labour and agroecological transition in sub-Saharan Africa – AgroWork

Completed projects

Adaptation to Climate Change
AFGROLAND – African Food, Agriculture, Land and Natural Resource Dynamics 
Feminization, agricultural transition, and rural employment – FATE
Knowledge for Development (K4D) Laos
Landless Pastoralists Research Project  
Links between biodiversity and coffee farmer practices in Bolivia
SoilCare – Soilcare for profitable and sustainable crop production in Europe
Solidarity economy for developing organic farming
TABI – The Agrobiodiversity Initiative
The Lao DECIDE info Project
Towards Food Sustainability