Emerging new flexible forms of consumer- producer relationships and activities within the food sector are challenging the traditional models of consumption and ownership. As social innovations, their extension can be interpreted as forerunner of economic transition. Interaction takes place through flexibilisation of scope and levels of consumer integration into the food production and distribution process and the common sustainable use and sharing of resources, in specific land, labour, production facilities, money, and knowledge.
From a transition perspective these new models might gain increasing significance and hold substantial potentials but also risks for sustainable development, welfare and quality of life.
In the new (BMBF funded) research project Future|Food|Commons we focus on initiatives involving public and private sector, consumers, professionals and local authorities and participatorily develop future scenarios, impact assessments and steering and governance models.
Potentials, risks and scope for adaptation are elaborated through foresight studies considering future developments of new concepts of supply . This also allows to identify requirements for steering and policies aiming at support for transition to sustainable economy.
The research project aims at providing answers to the following research questions:
Research will focus on four areas: 1.) Characterization and systematization of consumer- producer interactions (CPI) 2.) Scenario development for the future of new models of food production 3.) Assessment of innovation and technology impacts on sustainable development, welfare and quality of life; 4.) Steering demands and models of internal and external governance.
Our stakeholder centred research requires a continuous demand-supply communication and balancing, revaluing relationships between researcher, stakeholder and innovation brokers. Research results will be exploited and disseminated in a user oriented way, throughout the project lifetime and beyond, for stakeholders, practitioners and science as well as for the public.