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How we work

The Food System Economic Commission will deliver state-of-the-art scientific assessments on the economics of the transition to healthy, inclusive and sustainable food systems. By combining computer modelling with policy analysis, the commission will offer policy interventions that can contribute to a healthy, sustainable, and inclusive food system.

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Our Models

The Food System Economics Commission complements global modelling tools, such as integrated assessment modelling, with innovative applications of agent-based modelling for analysis. Modelling results are grounded in the reality of country policy choices.


The MAgPIE Model

The Model of Agricultural Production and its Impact on the Environment (MAgPIE) is a global land-use allocation model, which is connected to the grid-based dynamic vegetation model LPJmL, with a spatial resolution of 0.5°x0.5°. The model provides specific land use patterns, yields, and total costs of agricultural production for each grid cell. This framework allows FSEC to view the food system from a global perspective, integrating the potential behavior of consumers and food producers and their feedbacks on the Earth’s biophysical processes. 

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The TELLUS Model

TELLUS is an Agent-Based Model, constructed in NetLogo by Toby Pilditch. It simulates a population of individual farms—each with its own (heterogeneous) land, endowments, knowledge, and psychology. These farms are placed within both an economic (market) and an ecological context, selecting farming practices that (within the evolving physical and informational constraints) maximize their particular set of preferences. 

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By bringing together our respective disciplines, the Food System Economics Commission explores different pathways to food system transformation on a global scale. However, future pathways based on computer modelling alone are insufficient. The right policy interventions must also be identified. The commission therefore also reviews food and agricultural subsidies, taxes and regulations, their effectiveness, and the role of the political economy.

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The Food System Economics Commission brings together 21 commissioners and more than 60 researchers from 25 institutions to study the economics of food systems. The final report is expected to be published in Nature. New independent research will also be published in 20 peer-reviewed papers.

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The Hidden Costs of Food

accumulated since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2016

The counter shows the accumulated hidden costs of our current food systems since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2016, taking into account greenhouse gas emissions, blue water use, land use conversion, nitrogen emissions, undernourishment, poverty, and unhealthy diets.

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