ASI’s Food System Informatics program has grown from our roots in sustainable sourcing and regional landscape assessment into a program on developing and improving the information management aspects of food system sustainability, in addition to continuing our core research areas.  The primary focus of this cross-cutting informatics work is to improve how sustainability can be defined, measured, and operationalized by improving information management and connectivity among complex webs of challenges, data, and actors.  

The informatics work is a thread that underpins and weaves through our three research areas:

  1. Sustainable Sourcing – Our work includes critical review of sustainability issues, best practices and indicators of key dimensions of food system sustainability for specific cases at various scales. We seek to support a comprehensive understanding of sustainability for a given commodity or value chain in a given location by providing publicly available and scientifically-validated information and tools. 
  2. Working Landscapes – This work is similar to sustainable sourcing, but involves detailed assessment of sustainability attributes tied to specific landscapes or regions, providing information to enable informed decision-making.  We seek to support a comprehensive understanding of sustainability for a given location by providing publicly available and scientifically-validated information and tools.
  3. Data and Curation Tools We are using a linked open data approach to improve information connectivity among complex webs of challenges, data, and actors across food systems to better characterize and operationalize sustainability.