Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 76 ›› Issue (10): 2343-2359.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202110002

• Theoretical and Methodological Exploration • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Theoretical framework and research priorities on food system couplings in an urbanization context

MA Enpu1(), CAI Jianming2,3(), GUO Hua4, LIN Jing2, LIAO Liuwen5, HAN Yan2,3   

  1. 1. School of Geographic Sciences, Hunan Normal University, Changsha 410081, China
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4. Tianjin Institute of Rural Economy and Zoning Study, Tianjin Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Tianjin 300192, China
    5. Changsha University, Changsha 410022, China
  • Received:2020-05-11 Revised:2021-04-20 Online:2021-10-25 Published:2021-12-25
  • Contact: CAI Jianming;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(71734001);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41971224)


Driven by urbanization, regional functional differentiation, optimal allocation of production factors, and rapid expansion of transportation networks, the flow of resources between regions has become a key impetus for regional sustainable development. Hence, the interaction networking between human beings and their natural environment requires a meta-coupling paradigm research from a geographic perspective, that is, to consider the human-nature interactions within the region, between the region and surrounding regions, and between non-adjacent regions simultaneously. As an industrial chain and value chain that connects rural areas and cities, as well as production areas and global consumer markets, the research on food system couplings is a good and important entry point for a better understanding the interactions and networking in the human-earth system. With this perspective in mind and aiming at demonstrating the theoretical study based on internal basis and external conditions, this paper combines the food system components with the tele-coupling framework to establish a "theoretical framework of local and tele-coupling of food systems driven by urbanization", and discusses the specific connotation of the theoretical framework. Taking the extension of the frontier fields in the theoretical framework as the basic guide and combining China's major strategic needs, the paper further identifies the basic issues for food system coupling research and four priority research directions that need to be breakthrough. Among them, the pattern characteristics, the spatio-temporal evolution and its driving mechanism of foodshed are the basic issues, while the four research priorities include: human-nature interaction research of the supply chain network coupling socio-economic and cultural changes and biogeochemical cycles; effects of the local and tele-coupling of food system and its regulatory strategies; the mechanism of urban-rural integration and long-term poverty alleviation based on food system; and cross-regional multi-level governance of food systems for public health and food security. A general technical methodology of the food system coupling research is designed at the end of the paper. The conceptual framework and methodology in this paper can provide theoretical guideline and enlightenment for further food system coupling research and other similar studies.

Key words: urbanization, food system, local and tele-coupling, theoretical framework, priority issue