Grassy field

Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems

The Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems develops innovative ideas and solutions to the many challenges of current food systems. Taking a holistic and transdisciplinary approach, the Center’s work encompasses water and energy use, carbon footprint and nutrition, innovations in agtech, and the well-being and livelihood of farmers and others working in food systems.

Swette Center (pronounced “swee-tee”) faculty recognize that one-dimensional metrics, like yield per hectare, are important but blind us to many opportunities if not considered within a broader food systems approach. Increasingly, food system analysis is recognized for its power to provide greater understanding of complex interactions and real world dynamics than other kinds of lens, frameworks, or models. Food system analysis can help policymakers and others understand potential trade-offs of proposed interventions, technologies, and policies by taking into account the many aspects of food and agriculture typically studied — agricultural land, inputs, fisheries, infrastructure, labor, and the like — and placing these component parts within an integrated social and environmental context.

At the Swette Center, faculty are reinventing research processes, and by doing so, the Center is producing policy-relevant knowledge to make the consequences of our food choices explicit in quantitative and qualitative terms.