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Political Research Exchange

Fostering Integrated Food Policy Through Multi-Disciplinary Teaching and Learning. The Case of the IFSTAL (Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning) Programme.

Governance
 
Government
 
Integration
 
Knowledge
 
Methods
 
Education
 
Communication
 
Policy-Making
 
Presenter
Rebecca Wells
City, University of London
Authors
Rebecca Wells
City, University of London

Abstract
This paper uses the example of the UK-based IFSTAL programme to explore how integrated food policy can be supported through targeting the next generation of food policymakers. IFSTAL brings post graduate students from different food-related disciplines together both online and at face-to-face workshops. In a rare example of interdisciplinarity at university post graduate level, IFSTAL uses techniques and tools associated with soft-systems methodologies to develop students’ ‘food systems thinking’ – with the rationale that food policy challenges can only be addressed through multi- or trans-disciplinary solutions. This rationale is rooted in policy literature on the lack of joined-up food policy in the UK, with attempts to overcome this and integrate food policy across government departments (e.g. health, environment and agriculture) frustrated by bounded remits and persistent silo mentalities. Synthesising this food policy literature, systems thinking methods and pedagogical theory, the paper uses examples from IFSTAL’s teaching practice to examine the potential for better integrated policy via systems thinking methods, outlining the pros and cons in each case.
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