This grant is in support of a Sustainable Urban Systems (SUS) workshop. While food waste has been studied in the scientific literature, primarily from the technical perspective, much of the existing research is fragmented across single disciplines and disconnected case studies. Modeling, managing, assessing, and replicating sustainable urban food waste solutions will require novel research approaches, organized under the principle of convergence, which deeply integrates knowledge and methods from different disciplines, and carried out through meaningful collaborations between scientific researchers and stakeholders embedded in the food supply chain. This SUS workshop is targeted to catalyze these collaborations, provide a platform of exchanging knowledge across fields, and establish a sustainable urban systems research agenda organized around the specific and compelling problem of minimizing and managing food waste for broad social, economic, and environmental benefit. A key aspect is the planned approach to capturing geographic heterogeneity in urban food waste systems and solutions, by structuring the workshop scope to consider both aggregate impact of multiple urban areas in a single state and comparative analysis of cities across the U.S.
Efficient, resilient, and robust food supply chains are a critical part of sustainable urban systems. Knowledge created by convergent research networks can inform design of resource-efficient technologies, policies, and social interventions to minimize food waste and attendant energy, water, and resource use in cities and the peri-urban and rural regions on which they rely. Research catalyzed by this workshop is expected to generate new models of multi-scale transboundary interactions and innovative solutions for urban food waste challenges. These findings have potential for broad social, economic, and environmental benefit, and will be broadly disseminated to both scientific and stakeholder audiences. The workshop is anticipated to lead to greater understanding of how SUS science can be communicated effectively to help individuals, communities, and businesses take action to reduce their contribution to food waste. The workshop will also provide attendees with new understanding and approaches to engage traditionally underrepresented groups, particularly deaf/hard of hearing learners and scientists, in research leading to discovery and innovation.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.