Food System Studies



Food system studies research group explores and assesses the sustainability and resilience of food system activities. The research group utilizes a post-disciplinary approach which connects social policy, economics and business management, environmental social science and philosophy. The interests of the research group embrace a diverse range of problems related to food security, food system vulnerabilities, climate change adaptation, food poverty, food ethics, food policy, and food supply chain management.

The capacity of global food systems to produce sustainable food security is seriously threatened by global challenges like population growth, urbanization, environmental problems, loss of farm land, resource scarcity, economic and financial concentration, inequality, and poverty. At the same time, an alarming increase in malnutrition related to overeating and unhealthy food consumption manifests itself in food-related diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Identifying and addressing these challenges requires post-disciplinary and innovative research.

Various topics of our research have included:

  • exploring the policy mismatches as dysfunctional factors in and between food system activities
  • identifying and mapping food system vulnerabilities
  • analyzing the meanings given to food security
  • evaluating the cohesion of food policies
  • ethical issues related to food system activities

Our aim is to produce research that helps decision makers understand how environmental, social and political changes impact on the food system and, hence, for the food security, health, and well-being of citizens. The goal is to foresee and develop interventions that tackle the underlying causes rather than mere symptoms of vulnerabilities, and to enable researchers and decision makers to cope with increasing eco-social changes predicted to occur in the near future.


Kortetmäki, T. & Silvasti, T. (2016). Charitable Food Aid in a Nordic Welfare State: A Case for Environmental and Social Injustice. In A-L. Matthies & K. Närhi (Eds.), Ecosocial transition in society. Contribution of social work and social policy. Routledge. Forthcoming 2017.

Kortetmäki, T. (2016). Is Broad the New Deep in Environmental Ethics? A Comparison of Broad Ecological Justice and Deep Ecology. Ethics and the environment, 21 (1), 89-108. doi:10.2979/ethicsenviro.21.1.04

Puupponen, A., Paloviita, A., Kortetmäki, T., & Silvasti, T. (2016). Suomalaisen ruokaturvan ulottuvuudet: sisällönanalyysi ruokaturvasta julkisissa asiakirjoissa. Alue ja ympäristö, 45 (1), 39-54. Retrieved from Open access

Paloviita, A., Kortetmäki, T., Puupponen, A., & Silvasti, T. (2016). Vulnerability matrix of the food system: operationalizing vulnerability and addressing food security. Journal of Cleaner Production, 135, 1242-1255. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.07.018 Open access

All Publications in TUTKA

International advisory board

  • Professor Tim Lang, City University of London
  • Professor Gianluca Brunori, University of Pisa
  • Professor Talis Tiesenkopfs, University of Latvia
  • Dr. Peter Oosterveer, Wageningen University

Recent news & events

Kestävä hyvinvointi ja eriarvoisuus -seminar (Sosiaalipoliittinen yhdistys), Tieteiden talo, Helsinki.

The group takes part in Varautumisen IV opintopäivät -seminar, titled Ruokahuolto ja ruokaturva haavoittuvassa yhteiskunnassa.

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Prof. Tiina Silvasti visits the university of Bielefeld (Germany) as a keynote speaker at the ZiF-workshop titled Charity Economy: International Dimensions and Political Perspectives.

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Conference programme

The TRANSMANGO consortium meets on the 8th and 9th of September in Riga (Latvia) for its sixth project meeting