Future Food Security in Finland – Identifying and Analysing Vulnerability Aspects in the Finnish Food System

Funding: Kone Foundation


After the world food crisis 2007-8 it was recognized that the capacity of global food systems to produce food security is threatened by challenges such as population growth, environmental degradation, resource scarcity, loss of farm land, climate change, economic concentration, inequality and poverty. Thus, there is an urgent need to redesign more sustainable food systems, because only sustainable food systems can be secure.Even in the industrialized world food security cannot any more be considered as self-evident.

Food security is the main outcome and the principal policy objective of the food systems. The food systems consist of four types of activities: producing, processing and packaging, distributing and retailing, and consuming food. All these categories comprise social, economic, political and environmental dimensions. Current food system activities generate security but also substantial threats for sustainability.

The focus of this project is on national level exploring vulnerabilities and policy mismatches in the context of changing drivers of the Finnish food system. Finland offers a multiply interesting case. Socio-politically it is the Nordic welfare state with ideological commitment to democracy, equality and universalism. Geographically, it is one of the world's northernmost countries, making agriculture challenging. In terms of area, it is the eight largest and the most sparsely populated country in the EU. The project provides the first social scientific research on food security vulnerabilities and policy mismatches as dysfunctions in and between food system activities by utilizing postdiciplinary approach connecting social policy, economics, environmental social science and philosophy.

Specific objectives

  • To build a vulnerability matrix and chart policy mismatches in and between food system activities.
  • On base of the matrix five vulnerability aspects will be chosen for qualitive in-depth analysis in the context of national food system.
  • Five sets of vulnerability indicators for measuring the chosen vulnerability aspects are developed and agenda-setting scenarios for the dread, expected and desired development pathways are designed.
  • Besides social scientific basic research the project offers policy recommendations to address long-term food security and provides guidance to support the transition towards sustainable food system.

Participants: Tiina Silvasti (leader of the project), Ari Paloviita, Antti Puupponen and Teea Kortetmäki