The path food travels from farm to fork is a standard way of understanding a food system. That path, of course, is a complex web of relationships. This web includes everything from how a farmer accesses farmland and decided what seeds to plant or livestock to raise, to decisions about how the food is grown, transported and processed. In addition to including the marketing and packaging, it also comprises who consumes the food and where any waste ends up.
Research on food systems explores political, legal and economic intersections that organize our complex connections to food. Thus, we are interested in understanding the taken-for-granted relationships around food that structure our eating habits. It includes not merely the path that food takes from farm to fork, but the many variables that lead to particular foods being consumed by specific people.