The Australian Food Network
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What Is A Food System?

The food system is everything that happens from farm to fork, from paddock to plate and from soil to stomach so that we can all eat every day. So it's farming, it's food processing and manufacturing, it's transport and logistics, it's retail and marketing, it's consumption - eating and cooking, and it's dealing with waste and recycling. The food system impacts climate change, biodiversity and human health in very major ways. It's everyone's business and we all need to be involved in whatever way we can.
The web of actors, processes and interactions involved in growing, processing, distributing, consuming and disposing of foods, from the provision of inputs and farmer training, to product packaging and manufacturing, to waste recycling. A holistic food systems lens is concerned with how these processes interact with one another, and with the environmental, social, political and economic context. The food systems lens also brings to light reinforcing and balancing feedback loops, tensions between the different components and flows of food systems, and interactions that are cyclical, multilayered and multi-scale. It is a way of thinking about the world that seeks to identify the linear and non-linear relationships between the different components of the system.