About us

IKnowFood working definition of food system resilience:

Food system resilience is the ability of the system over time to learn, adapt and transform to cope at multiple levels with external and internal stresses and shocks in order to provide supplies of food that are economically, environmentally and nutritionally sustainable.

IKnowFood 2017

IKnowFood is a brand new four year project led by Professor Bob Doherty (The York Management School and the York Environmental Sustainability Institute YESI) with collaborators from across the University of York and the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester. The project is funded by the Global Food Security Programme.

Systems of food production, trade and consumption are increasingly vulnerable to interconnected political, economic and ecological shocks and stresses associated with climate and environmental changes, shifts in farming practices, uneven power dynamics and consumer lifestyle changes.

IKnowFood will take an interdisciplinary multi-stakeholder approach to developing a unifying understanding of ‘food system resilience’ using tools and methods to integrate the knowledge and perspectives of hitherto disparate food system actors.

Through integrating knowledge from both sciences and social sciences the aim of the project is to remove the significant disconnects between various actors in the global food system and enhance overall food system resilience. Our aim is to produce new datasets, information resources, appropriate technology tools for farmers, decision making tools for business and consumer mobile technologies all working to minimise trade-offs and secure complementarities.

The UN expects global demand for food to increase by 60 % by 2050, driven largely by population growth and changing dietary patterns among the burgeoning middle class in China, India and other large developing countries. At the same time, food production is under severe pressure from a variety of different sources, including climate change, extreme weather, water depletion, soil degradation, resource conflict and political instability. These pressures are seen in the growing incidence of food insecurity in both developing and developed countries, which in many cases has gone hand in hand with escalating problems of obesity, nutritional deficiency and diet-related health problems.

Watch how fast the world became obese. Image: Metrocosm.com

Against this background, IKnowFood aims to deepen our understanding of how to build resilience in the food systems by creating positive social and environmental change. IKnowFood is funded by the Global Food Security programme and led by the University of York, in partnership with the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool. The research team will work collaboratively to understand the obstacles to food system resilience and to develop practical tools to enable farmers, processors, manufacturers, retailers and consumers to better respond to increasing stresses and risks. Food system resilience is the ability of the system over time to learn, adapt and transform to cope at multiple levels with external and internal stresses and shocks in order to provide supplies of food that are economically, environmentally and nutritionally sustainable. We aim to work in partnership with the UK food industry, policy makers and consumers to promote resilience for all.

FAQs

What is the length of the project?

IKnowFood is a four year project that started in October 2016 and will run until October 2020.

How does IKnowFood link with other GFS projects?

IKnowFood is the largest of ten research projects currently funded via the UK's Global Food Security Programme. Whilst each GFS project is distinct and unique, we see IKnowFood as having large potential for interaction with other GFS projects. This is particularly due to the fact that our research is designed to explore the concept of resilience across the entire UK food system. In addition to sharing our experience on resilience-thinking across the programme, particular opportunities for collaboration include those linked to our supply chain modelling and indicator work, governance and regulatory environment analysis, stakeholder engagement, and co-design of interventions for enhanced resilience. We look forward to engaging and interacting with our colleagues in these other GFS projects as our work develops.

How does IKnowFood link to the N8 AgriFood project?

IKnowFood is a sister of N8 Agrifood. Both projects were born from the York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI) which brings together interdisciplinary researchers to work on global challenges. In 2015 N8 AgriFood secured Funding from the Higher Education Funding Council. Then a core group working on food resilience within YESI partnered with a number of academics from the N8 AgriFood project including Professor Jason Halford (Liverpool) and Professor Bruce Grieve (Manchester) to submit an application to the Global Food Security Fund on Food System Resilience. The grant was awarded in 2016.

Next event

IKnowFood Stakeholder Conference

17 September 2019 / Amnesty International UK

As part of our IKnowFood dissemination we are going to be holding a stakeholder …

Meet the team