Sustainability transition pathways through ecological intensification: an assessment of vegetable food systems in Chile

Daniel Gaitán-Cremaschi, Laurens Klerkx, Jessica Duncan, Jacques H. Trienekens, Carlos Huenchuleo, Santiago Dogliotti, María E. Contesse, Francisco J. Benitez-Altuna, Walter A.H. Rossing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Ecological intensification has been proposed as a promising lever for a transition towards more sustainable food systems. Various food systems exist that are based on ecological intensification and may have potential for a sustainability transition. Little is known, however, about their diversity and about how they perform against dominant systems in terms of the multiple societal goals. The aim of this study is to contribute to knowledge about sustainability transitions in food systems through an empirical analysis of vegetable food systems in Chile. The study (i) characterizes the diversity of vegetable food systems in Chile (ii) evaluates the food systems in terms of multiple societal goals, and (iii) assesses their potential for supporting sustainability transition pathways from the perspective of ecological intensification. Results indicate that among the five vegetable food system types, the agroecological and the small organic have potential to foster a sustainability transition. Nevertheless, these systems are small and localized, and scaling them requires actions to remove barriers in the relations with the agri-food regime and among themselves. The broader relevance of this analysis is that there needs to be awareness in research on transitions about the diversity of food systems present in countries and how they interact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-150
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Mar 2020


  • Food system
  • alternative food system
  • conventional food system
  • ecological intensification
  • sustainability transition


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