Using local initiatives to envision sustainable and resilient food systems in the Stockholm city-region

Author(s): Sellberg, M.M., Norström, A.V., Peterson, G.P., Gordon. L.J.
In: Global Food Security 24
Year: 2019
Type: Journal / article
Theme affiliation: Transformations
Full reference: Sellberg, M.M., Norström, A.V., Peterson, G.P., Gordon. L.J. 2020. Using local initiatives to envision sustainable and resilient food systems in the Stockholm city-region. Global Food Security 24.


Globally, food systems face multifaceted sustainability challenges and the need for food system transformation is increasingly acknowledged. However, there is still a lack of knowledge on the pathways for transformation and how they will play out in diverse regional social-ecological contexts. We explored transformation towards more sustainable and resilient food systems in a specific regional context – the Stockholm city-region in Sweden. The approach we used is based on a new methodology for bottom-up, participatory narrative scenarios that has been developed in the international sustainability science project “Bright Spots: Seeds of the Good Anthropocene”.

Through a workshop and a survey with a diverse set of regional actors, we developed a vision of a positive food future and identified conflicts and opportunities for moving towards it. The vision highlights four components from across different sectors and represents a significant change from the current situation. The direction of change aligns with global goals of sustainable and healthy diets and promotes increased diversity in crops and landscapes that could strengthen the resilience of regional food systems. However, potential trade-offs between local diversity and global resource efficiency need to be better understood.

While the approach revealed barriers in existing economic and socio-cultural mechanisms of global food systems, it also allowed us to identify several opportunities for local initiatives to expand the regional niche, for example by using the leverage of actors situated between producers and consumers. The Seeds of Good Anthropocene scenario methodology helped to understand more of the cross-scale dynamics in a transformation process in a specific social-ecological context and can be useful to navigate food system change in other places as well.

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