Human-Environment Interactions

Socio-Metabolic Perspectives on the Sustainability of Local Food Systems

Insights for Science, Policy and Practice

Editors: Fraňková, Eva, Haas, Willi, Singh, Simron J. (Eds.)

  • Eight in-depth case studies provide diverse examples of application of social metabolism on local level
  • Features a concluding overview of viable agro-food systems for designing a more sustainable future
  • Provides analytical approaches and models useful both for academics, activists and policy-makers
  • Offers a unique combination of social metabolism and the nexus approach applied to study local food systems
  • Summarizes the current debate on sustainability of agro-food systems in four conceptual chapters 
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eBook $169.00
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-69236-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $219.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-69235-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book delves into diverse local food systems and critically assesses their ecological and societal benefits and trade-offs, their limits and opportunities for improving sustainability of food production, and framework conditions which either hinder or promote their development. 

More and more people with gradually meat heavier diets will demand growth in food production, whilst our increasingly industrialized and globalized agri-food system has already caused serious sustainability problems in the past. This calls for a change in the way we produce, distribute and consume food. A re-emerging debate on food security and food sovereignty seems to support this quest. But what are the promising alternatives to mainstream developments? 

Such a discussion regarding sustainability of local food systems requires a sound systemic understanding and thus invites a socio-metabolic reading of local cases by analyzing the nexus between material and energy flows as well as land and time use. This approach is needed to complement the so far mostly qualitatively-based local food studies. Applying socio-metabolic approaches to local food systems fosters a better understanding of promises and pitfalls for sustainable pathways in the future.

About the authors

Eva Fraňková works as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. Her long-term research interests and passions include the concept of eco-localisation, sustainable degrowth and various grass-root alternative economic practices including eco-social enterprises, local food initiatives etc. Recently she has been involved in the mapping of heterodox economic initiatives in the Czech Republic, and in research on the social metabolism of local food systems. She is also involved in several NGOs – the Association of Local Food Initiatives, the Society and Economy Trust, and NaZemi (OnEarth), a global education and Fair Trade organisation in the Czech Republic.
Willi Haas is senior researcher and lecturer at the Institute of Social Ecology in Vienna, an institute of the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Alpen Adria University. In the 90s, he became fascinated by social ecology, the study of society-nature relations across time and space. He is interested in the past transition from agrarian to industrial societies and the insights that can be drawn from these far-reaching changes for the next transition to a post- fossil society. In his view the question of how to overcome the system inertia and the unsustainable reproduction dynamics of the present fossil fuelled societies is crucial for fostering a sustainable future. He was chair of Greenpeace CEE for 9 years. Professionally, he was a public official at the Ministry of Social Affairs, director of the Institute of Applied Ecology (Vienna), acting director of the Environmental Monitoring Group (Cape Town) and researcher at the International Institute of Applied System Analysis (IIASA, based in Austria). At the Institute of Social Ecology he has headed numerous scientific projects and is the coordinator of the institute’s team of thematic research coordinators.
Simron Jit Singh is Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) at the Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo, Canada. Drawing on the concept of social metabolism, his research focuses on the systemic links between material and energy flows, time use and human wellbeing. His particular interest lies at the local and sub-national scales, as well as small islands. He has conducted social metabolism studies in the Nicobar Islands (India), and Samothraki (Greece), and supervised work on the biomass metabolism of Jamaica (as part of the Canadian project Hungry Cities), the Region of Waterloo as well as Canada. As work-package leader, he led work on biomass flows and social conflicts in an EU project (EJOLT).

Table of contents (12 chapters)

  • Introduction: Key Concepts, Debates and Approaches in Analysing the Sustainability of Agri-Food Systems

    Fraňková, Eva (et al.)

    Pages 1-24

  • Methodological Challenges and General Criteria for Assessing and Designing Local Sustainable Agri-Food Systems: A Socio-Ecological Approach at Landscape Level

    Tello, Enric (et al.)

    Pages 27-67

  • Biophysical Analysis of Agri-Food Systems: Scales, Energy Efficiency, Power and Metabolism of Society

    Gomiero, Tiziano

    Pages 69-101

  • The Energy–Landscape Integrated Analysis (ELIA) of Agroecosystems

    Marull, Joan (et al.)

    Pages 103-129

  • Does Your Landscape Mirror What You Eat? A Long-Term Socio-metabolic Analysis of a Local Food System in Vallès County (Spain, 1860–1956–1999)

    Padró, Roc (et al.)

    Pages 133-164

Buy this book

eBook $169.00
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-69236-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $219.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-69235-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Socio-Metabolic Perspectives on the Sustainability of Local Food Systems
Book Subtitle
Insights for Science, Policy and Practice
Editors
  • Eva Fraňková
  • Willi Haas
  • Simron J. Singh
Series Title
Human-Environment Interactions
Series Volume
7
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer International Publishing AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-69236-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-69236-4
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-69235-7
Series ISSN
2214-2339
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIX, 364
Number of Illustrations and Tables
15 b/w illustrations, 15 illustrations in colour
Topics