Food systems—food from production to digestion and related contexts—contribute significantly to disease and environmental degradation. Hence, their transformation is thus key to contribute to sustainability and health, and requires attentiveness to both material/biological and meaningful/social aspects that affect food production and consumption. This project seeks to enrich the current sustainable-food-systems-for-health agenda by including important socio-cultural aspects besides the more common nutritional, biological, ecological, and technological aspects in the development of an integrated approach to food system.
EATWELL pursues this integrative ambition with Bhutan as our informative and critical case. In the first stage, we will examine the food system in the cultural heartland of Bhutan, exploring the cultivation, foraging, herding, eating patterns and the like, and delve into the broader environmental, cultural, and religious factors that shape the former. After exploring the ‘what and why’ of food systems and practices we will flesh out how these stages and contexts shape nutrient intake. In a second stage we will scale-up this examination of the material and meaningful aspects of the food system to additional sites across Bhutan. The methods for investigation entail ethnography, nutritional surveys and extended ethnographic nutritional case studies.
The project has following key aims:
Turn food systems approaches more sensitive to local environments and cultures,
Learn from Bhutan’s approach to happiness and environment as they have been key in developing a more socially-oriented approach to development,
Improve health and nutrition in a culture-sensitive way by engaging stakeholders and relevant actors and end-users in Bhutan, and
developing a model of food system development that contributes to Sustainable Development Goals in a culture-sensitive way and that can be replicated and adapted in different contexts.