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Sustainability-considering the pillars of sustainability as a theoretical paradigm

Caraher, M. & Reynolds, J. (2005). Sustainability-considering the pillars of sustainability as a theoretical paradigm. Journal of the Home Economics Institute of Australia, 47(2), pp. 25-32.


The need for a common theoretical framework with regards to the use of the term ‘sustainability’ in connection with food is important. Its current use covers a number of different meanings, ranging through economics and food supply systems to agrifood systems. This article explores the issue of sustainability, using the five-capital-assets model (natural capital; social capital; physical capital; human/political capital; and financial capital). Using this as a tool, the impacts of food security and the global food system are audited. This analysis is taken from a paper presented at the national conference of the Home Economics Institute of Australia in 2005 and is framed by the discussions that took place in the workshops. Conclusions are drawn for home economic teachers in terms of the role they play in food advocacy. This moves beyond teaching about the food system ‘as-it-is’, to education concerning the background to the food system and how we, as both consumers and citizens, can act and exercise power. The model can be used to both inform teaching practice about sustainability and to frame a response at a school/community level to wider influences in the food system. Education on its own is judged not to be sufficient and the need for action at a school level is explored.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management > Food Policy
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