Sustainable food systems from a nitrogen perspective

Only if addressing food systems in a holistic and comprehensive way will be enable to
overcome the multiple failures of high environmental impact from food production and
consumption and health effect through under- or malnutrition. Sustainable food systems not
only respect environmental planetary boundaries and provide sufficient, safe and healthy food
for everybody; they do this also keeping high ethical standards and enabling stable food
system businesses with a decent livelihood for all food system actors.

Nitrogen plays a
particular role in food systems: it is key ingredient for food production, nitrogen contributes
to all major environmental threats, and nitrogen is a building block for amino acids essential
in human diet. We argue that looking at nitrogen already includes many – albeit not all –
aspects necessary for a food system approach. We review recent literature on the interface
between nitrogen and food systems