VISIONARY wants to make a difference in food system transitions by identifying what factors underlie the path dependencies and ‘lock-ins’ in current unsustainable food systems and showing how these can be overcome. VISIONARY will tackle both policy and business shifts as drivers that are necessary to make a change at the system level. The project aims to improve the sustainability of agriculture by promoting practices in food production systems that are more environmentally friendly, economically viable and socio-culturally appropriate.
VISIONARY focuses on existing initiatives, practices and (policy) interventions (case studies) that are still niche or small-scale and investigates the barriers to scaling up and out. Case studies cover value chain examples with a differing complexity, different environmental policy transitions pathways and existing agri-food system examples, namely the shift to organic farming and more plant-based protein production and consumption. At its core, VISIONARY uses methods from experimental and behavioural economics to identify barriers and appropriate behavioural interventions (nudges, education, incentives) for farmers and consumers.
The novelty of VISIONARY lies in the combination of experimental methods with a systems thinking approach, considering the whole agri-food system as an influence on farmer decisions. The innovative combination of quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of methods is our important methodological contribution to more system-based research. Comparability will be achieved by applying the same or similar methods across case studies in Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Italy, Spain, Denmark and the UK. In order to achieve improved capacities for researchers in behavioural and experimental research, as well as for policy makers and value chain actors to utilise such research, VISIONARY will work with these actors in Science-Policy-Interfaces set up alongside the case studies.