When contemplating the food system, people tend to focus on the farms where food is produced, the stores where food is sold, and the restaurants and home kitchens where ingredients are transformed into meals to be served and consumed. What’s often overlooked is the complex system that enables food to move from farm to processor to purveyor to eater and beyond. But these processes—and the infrastructure required to facilitate them—are critical components of the modern food system.
While food supply chains were once short and simple (e.g., the farmer’s family consuming what was produced, or selling some portion directly to consumers at local markets), they’ve become much more complicated. Sophisticated infrastructure is now used to harvest, process, package, transport, track, and monitor food from farm to fork to landfill, recycling facility, or back to the farm.
Circular food leaders are reassessing these systems, processes, and physical capital. How can they be improved? How can efficiency be increased, waste be reduced, and resilience improved all while maintaining food safety, affordability, and availability?