This licentiate thesis presents a theoretical framework for evaluating sustainability in industrialized regions, especially with respect to food systems. The focus is on ecosystem life-support as a basis for food production and the potential for moving towards a sustainable food supply system. My hypothesis is that by analyzing imports, use of local resources and scope for increasing local production - possibilities and obstacles for developing a sustainable food supply system can be identified. The thesis is based on two papers:
In paper I, an energy analysis is used in a study of a small island community, Nämdö in the Stockholm archipelago. Energy and material flows, including primary and secondary production in natural and cultivated ecosystems, human production and consumption of food and production of waste are estimated. The results show that the island community imports a lot of food and energy while only a minor amount of locally available resources are utilized. Instead it depends heavily on functioning transport communications with the Swedish mainland. Based on our findings we recommend making use of locally available renewable resources and increasing recycling of organic materials for achieving a more sustainable community.
In paper II, the environmental consequences of local small-scale versus centralized large-scale bread production and the potential for self-sufficiency of bread on the island of Gotland are analyzed. The results show that bread production based on locally produced ingredients, primarily flour, would lower the need for transportation but calls for investments in energy efficient techniques adapted to small scale production. Further, a redirection of a part of the exported bread grain and grain used as animal feed, to human consumption is needed for increasing self-sufficiency in bread and flour production.
Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University , 2000. , 22 p.