FOODLEVERS is grounded on the premise that attaining sustainable food production and consumption will require transition from the current linear FSs, to more circular systems that also re-connect producers and consumers. Such sustainability transitions are complex processes. In addition, many sustainability interventions focus on “highly tangible, but essentially weak, leverage points” (Abson et al. 2017, 30), thus they do not address key problems. Based on the framework of leverage points for sustainability interventions (Meadows 1999), Abson et al. (2017) propose a research agenda based on three realms of “deep leverage” to address in sustainability transitions, such as those required to transition towards resource-efficient, circular and zero-waste food systems:

» “re-connect” people to nature to encourage sustainable behaviours

» “re-structure” institutions and consider how institutional dynamics can create an enabling environment for sustainability

» “re-think” how knowledge is created and used, shared and validated


Research that addresses relationships between the above areas can build an understanding of effective practices and how these interact with the design of and intent behind food systems (Fischer and Riechers, 2019). Therefore, these three realms of deep leverage build the theoretical approach of FOODLEVERS.