A4 Artikkeli konferenssijulkaisussa
Food system transition toward sustainability: Individuals engaging in change

Julkaisun tekijät: Katariina Koistinen, Satu Teerikangas, Mirja Mikkilä, Lassi Linnanen
Paikka: St Gallen
Julkaisuvuosi: 2017
Kirjan nimi *: Boosting Resource Productivity by Adopting the Circular Economy
Sarjan nimi: World Resources Forum Conference Proceedings
ISBN: 978-3-9521409-7-0


Food security is a crucial topic in sustainability science. Agricultural land occupies
approximately 37–38% of the Earth’s land surface, and about one third of the EU’s
environmental impact is caused by the current food system. Further, feeding the world’s rapidly
growing population is a mounting challenge. To achieve a sustainable food system, a holistic
system transition is required. Whereas past research has primarily focused on macro-level
sustainable system transformation, this paper responds to calls to look at change at a micro
level, by focusing on sustainable system transformation that is initiated by individuals. Inspired
by system intelligence, this paper presents the hypothesis that change agents are needed
across the current food system to enable sustainable system transition. This agency is studied
throughout the agricultural value chain – from the agricultural production phase, through the
distribution and retailing phases to the consumption phase. The paper explores how individuals
become involved with, and stay engaged in, sustainable transformation. The findings are
based on a qualitative study in which 26 individuals involved in the Finnish agricultural value
chain were interviewed. The findings show that individuals’ intrinsic motivation and ethical
stances explain their engagement with sustainable transformation. Further, the study identifies
the fact that change agency can be either active or passive. To our knowledge, this paper is
among the first to bring a micro-level perspective to sustainable transformation in the context
of food systems. Our findings carry important implications for the emerging study of sustainable
transformation that is initiated at the micro level. When our understanding of micro-level
change increases, sustainable systemic change is more likely to become institutionalised.

Last updated on 2019-29-01 at 10:21