Get the CIFOR publications update

CIFOR publishes over 400 publications every year on forests and climate change, landscape restoration, rights, forest policy, agroforestry and much more in multiple languages.

Governance of food systems across scales in times of social-ecological change: a review of indicators

Governance of food systems across scales in times of social-ecological change: a review of indicators

Governance of food systems is a poorly understood determinant of food security. Much scholarship on food systems governance is non-empirical, while existing empirical research is often case study-based and theoretically and methodologically incommensurable. This complicates aggregation of evidence and generalization. This paper presents a review of literature to identify a core set of methodological indicators to study food systems governance in future research. Indicators were identified from literature gathered through a structured consultation and sampling from recent systematic reviews and were classified according to governance levels and the food system activity domain they investigate. We found a concentration of indicators in food production at local to national levels and with less literature investigating how food governance affects food distribution and consumption. Many indicators of institutional structure were found, while indicators capturing social agency and indicators of cross-scale dynamics were moderately represented but critical perspectives on governance were lacking. These gaps present an opportunity for future empirical research to investigate more comprehensively the diverse components of food systems and how governance arrangements at different scales affect them.

Authors: Delaney, A.; Evans, T.; McGreevy, J.; Blekking, J.; Schlachter, T.; Korhonen-Kurki, K.; Tamás, P.A.; Crane, T.A.; Eakin, H.; Förch, W.; Jones, L.; Nelson, D.R.; Oberlack, C.; Purdon, M.; Rist, S.

Topic: governance, food security

Publication Year: 2018

ISSN: 1876-4517

Source: Food Security 10(2): 287-310


Altmetric score:

Export Citation

Related viewing


CIFOR website usability survey

We're conducting research on our website and we'd love to hear from you about your experience on This will help us make improvements and prioritize new features. The survey should only take 5 minutes, and your responses are completely anonymous.

If you have any questions about the survey, please email us:

We really appreciate your input!

Start survey
I don’t want to participate
Remind me later