NMBU Bærekraftsarena: Bærekraftige matsystemer.
NMBU Bærekraftsarena: Bærekraftige matsystemerPhoto: Shutterstock

The arena for sustainable food systems is an arena for interdisciplinary research, education and communication towards sustainable food systems. The arena will be an internal as well as an external meeting point for critical reflection about efforts to make our current food systems more sustainable.  

  • Today's world food systems are centralized around many environmental, economic, and societal challenges. Crises such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine exacerbates the challenges we face. This reveals a need for a more resilient system to feed a growing world population.  

    The UN elevated Sustainable Food Systems to the top of the international agenda during the Food System Summit in New York in 2021. In Norway, actors in the national food systems are increasingly judged by their ability to contribute to food security as well as to human and planetary health.  

    There is now a broad international consensus that the world's food systems, both local and global, need to go through a “transformation” to meet the UN sustainable development goals, to be able to tackle the current challenges.  

    The arena involves all NMBU's seven faculties, as well as various partners from different sectors within research, education and communication.

    Matsystem - alt som omfatter alle aktører, matprodukter, samt økonomiske, samfunnsmessige og naturlige miljøer som systemene er plassert i.
    Everything encompassing all actors, food products, as well as economic, societal, and natural environments in which the systems are placed.  Photo: Illustrasjon
  • Through the production and communication of knowledge, the arena will build a common and transdisciplinary understanding of sustainability in food systems. The arena will work to stimulate transformative change and critical reflection of the current state of the world's food systems.  

    The arena will support innovation in food systems thinking across scales from the micro-level (e.g. co-evolution of microbes, animals and food-plants) to the macro-level (e.g. international food trade). Central to the work within the arena will be the overall system approach, including a multitude of knowledge producers to cover the whole food system.  

    Working between different sectors and across different levels both internally and externally of the university, the arena will work within research, education, and communication to reach these goals.

    To strengthen the knowledge about sustainable food systems, the arena will:  

    • Establish a MSc program in Sustainable Food Systems.  
    • Collaborate across faculties on teaching and student activities in food system related courses. 
    • Provide seed funding for writing workshops aimed at co-publishing across projects/faculties and writing of new grant proposals  
    • Organize Sustainable Food System outreach seminars and debates, both digitally and physically.  

    09 Jan 2022 - 09 Jan 2026



    Kate Schneider - Food & Society conference

    Food & Society Conference

    On April 30th, the arena organized the Food & Society conference in Oslo. Two hundred individuals chose to gather at the Litteraturhuset on this warm and sunny day to discuss one of the most important issues of our time.

    The arena invited researchers from various fields, with representatives from all faculties at NMBU, to share their expertise with experts and stakeholders in the field.

    As our keynote speaker, we had food systems researcher Kate Schneider from Johns Hopkins University (USA). The conference concluded with a panel discussion featuring the State Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Wenche Westberg, and representatives from industry, academia, and civil society.

    Read about the conference here
    Bærekraftige matsystemer nyhetsbrev

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    Illustrated landscape (AI rendered)

    Rethinking Food Systems: A Perspective on Regional Dynamics

    What is a Regional Food Network? What motivates farmers and other actors in these networks and what does it mean that food is place-based?

    Researcher Christy Anderson Brekken shares her thoughts on the transformative potential of regional food systems, the role of universities in sustainability efforts, interdisciplinary collaboration, and common misconceptions surrounding food production.

    Read the article here
    Verksted på smultringfestivalen

    Call for student led activities about Sustainable Food Systems

    It is now possible for students to apply for funding for student led activities and events related to sustainable food systems.

    To apply, fill out and submit an application to the arena no later than one month before the event starts.

    Apply here

    Anne Kjersti Uhlen, bønner.

    Article: Can we get beans from norwegian farmers?

    Researchers from NMBU, Anne-Kjersti Uhlen and Paula Varela Tomasco, talks about the possibilities and difficulties for Norwegian farmers to grow legumes in Norway.

    Read the article here.

    Åsa Helena Frostegård at the lab.

    Article: Microbes, Legumes and Nitrous Oxide - The Forgotten Greenhouse Gas: Interview with Microbiologist Åsa Frostegård

    We spoke with Åsa Frostegård, a microbiologist specializing in soil microbial biology and ecology. Frostegård leads the Microbial Ecology and Physiology (MEP) group, the groups research spans from microscopic organisms to large-scale field applications.

    Read the article here.

    A food system

    Master in Sustainable Food Systems

    Apply for a master in sustainable food systems! The master will focus on systemic knowledge of food systems and give the students experience working in interdisciplinary teams to propose solutions that can change our food systems today. The master will give the students an overview of the systems both locally and globally and equip them with tools to combat challenges in today’s food systems, as well as learn how to develop solutions for the future.

    Read more

    Spelsau i fjellet

    Course under development: Sustainable Food Systems

    This course will provide you with a general introduction to how food systems work, and will use the food systems in the Nord-Østerdalen and Gudbrandsdal regions as a concrete example in the teaching. Local food systems are part of a larger whole, both nationally and internationally, and changes in the local system can have significant ripple effects in the larger systems. At the same time, international and national changes will affect the local systems.

    Read more


    The Sustainability Arena is established.

    1. september 2022

    Seminar with Donald Huisingh

    27. Oktober

    Sustainability & Urban Development

    29. November

    Open Seminar - Redesigning Foodsystems in Different Parts of the World

    26. January

    Harvest Hope

    2. Mars

    Fagprat: Husdyr og dilemmar in fremtiden matsystemer

    3. April
    Panel discussion

    Food & Society

    30. April

    Husdyr i Framtidas Matproduksjon

    30. May
    Ending seminar - LIVESTOCK project