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Connecting the dots: Integrating food policies towards food system transformation

Edwards, F. ORCID: 0000-0003-0389-193X, Sonnino, R. & López Cifuentes, M. (2024). Connecting the dots: Integrating food policies towards food system transformation. Environmental Science & Policy, 156, article number 103735. doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2024.103735


Growing evidence shows that current policies are unable to catalyse the necessary transformation towards a more just and sustainable food system. Scholars argue that food policy integration – policies that unite numerous food-related actions – is required to overcome dominant siloed and fragmented approaches and to tackle environmental and economic crises. However, what is being integrated and how such integrations contribute to food system transformation remain unexplored. This paper aims to disentangle frames and approaches to food policy integration through a critical analysis of literature on integrated policies and food system transformation. Complemented by a systematic literature review for “food system” and “polic* integrat*”, overlapping approaches and gaps between these literatures are revealed over the last twenty years. We use the prisms of processes (“how” food policy integration is being practiced), placement (“where” crossovers between sectors in governance institutions and where synergies between objectives can be created) and things (“what” specific aspects of the food system and related sectors exist within integrated policies and leverage points to trigger transformative dynamics) to explore how policy integration and food system transformation intersect within current debates. Our findings reveal cross-cutting themes and distinct theoretical frameworks but also identify substantial gaps, where frames of food policy integration often remain within their disciplinary silos, are ambiguous or ill-defined. We conclude that to achieve policy integration as a tool for food system transformation, a new research and policy agenda is needed that builds on diverse knowledges, critical policy approaches and the integration of food with other sectors.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Publisher Keywords: Policy integration, Food system transformation, Integrated food polices, Food systems, Governance, Just transitions, Sustainability
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
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