Sustainable Food Systems

Promoting environmentally sustainable, healthy and socially equitable food systems at the University of Melbourne.

The University of Melbourne is committed to playing a leadership role in addressing global sustainability challenges through inter-disciplinary research and engagement and through its campus operations, and sustainability of the food system is one of the most important dimensions of this global challenge.

The global food system contributes around a third of global GHG emissions and is also one of the main drivers of deforestation, biodiversity loss and land degradation.  It also accounts for around 70% of global water withdrawals. There is an urgent need for a transformation to a more sustainable food system that not only addresses the environmental impacts but also places health and social equity at the heart of the food system.

This research project aims to amplify the University’s focus on sustainable food systems (and its potential role as a leader in food system transformation) by encouraging an interdisciplinary and highly engaged approach to research in the field.

The project activities will aim to bring researchers across the University together to develop a more integrated and inter-disciplinary ‘food systems’ perspective on research and engagement in order to:

  • amplify the influence of the university’s research on policy that promotes a transformation to more sustainable food systems
  • better connect researchers working in aspects of sustainable food systems
  • encourage collaboration and joint funding applications


Project team

Dr Rachel Carey (Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences)

Professor Christine Parker (Melbourne Law School)

Related projects

Building the climate resilience of Melbourne's food system
This project aims to build the climate resilience of Melbourne's food system by assessing the resilience of all stages of the city's food system to potential shocks and stresses related to climate change (such as drought, storms, floods and bushfires). The project builds on the successful partnership with LMCF established during the Foodprint Melbourne project and extends this work by expanding the focus from the resilience of local food production to the resilience of all stages of Melbourne's city region food system, including distribution, retail and access. The project will adopt a collaborative approach to the resilience assessment that engages key stakeholders in the process, laying the foundations for this evidence base to influence policy that strengthens the resilience and sustainability of Melbourne's food supply.  This project is based in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne.