Food System Resilience: Concepts, Issues, and Challenges

Monika Zurek, John Ingram, Angelina Sanderson Bellamy, Conor Goold, Christopher Lyon, Peter Alexander, Andrew Barnes, Daniel P. Bebber, Tom D. Breeze, Ann Bruce, Lisa M. Collins, Jessica Davies, Bob Doherty, Jonathan Ensor, Sofia C. Franco, Andrea Gatto, Tim Hess, Chrysa Lamprinopoulou, Lingxuan Liu, Magnus MerkleLisa Norton, Tom Oliver, Jeff Ollerton, Simon Potts, Mark S. Reed, Chloe Sutcliffe, Paul J.A. Withers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Food system resilience has multiple dimensions. We draw on food system and resilience concepts and review resilience framings of different communities. We present four questions to frame food system resilience (Resilience of what? Resilience to what? Resilience from whose perspective? Resilience for how long?) and three approaches to enhancing resilience (robustness, recovery, and reorientation-the three "Rs"). We focus on enhancing resilience of food system outcomes and argue this will require food system actors adapting their activities, noting that activities do not change spontaneously but in response to a change in drivers: an opportunity or a threat. However, operationalizing resilience enhancement involves normative choices and will result in decisions having to be negotiated about trade-offs among food system outcomes for different stakeholders. New approaches to including different food system actors' perceptions and goals are needed to build food systems that are better positioned to address challenges of the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-534
Number of pages24
JournalAnnual Review of Environment and Resources
Early online date20 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022 by Annual Reviews
Funding Information:
This research was funded through the Global Food Security's Resilience of the UK Food System in a Global Context program, with support from the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the UK's Economic and Social Research Council, the UK's Natural Environment Research Council, and the Scottish Government.


  • adaptation
  • recovery
  • reorientation
  • robustness
  • social-ecological systems
  • transformation

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