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8 Epilogue
Pages 361-366

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From page 361...
... food system in the future, the framework developed by the committee is intended both to facilitate retrospective and prospective analyses of the system and to foster improved decision making on how it might be better organized, altered, and maintained. CONCLUDING THOUGHTS Examples abound in which decisions about the food system have resulted in consequences in multiple domains well beyond their immediate objective.
From page 362...
... Publicly collected data and publicly supported models have been and continue to be critically important in assessing and comparing the effects of the food system in various domains and dimensions. The lack of access to data collected by industry can be a major challenge for public research aimed at understanding the drivers and effects of the food system.
From page 363...
... These conclusions support the development of an analytical, systems approach framework that can be used to broaden insights into the consequences of food and agriculturally related activities and policies, assisting decision makers in becoming aware of trade-offs and potential unintended consequences. When considering alternative configurations2 (e.g., policies 2  Configurations are elements within the food system, such as policy interventions, technolo gies, market conditions, or organizational structure of different segments of the food system, that can be modified to achieve a particular goal or to explore how potential drivers (e.g., growth in demand for foods with particular traits)
From page 364...
... Food Availability Data, Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Data, and Nutrient Availability Data databases, which are critical as a proxy for the food consumption and food losses in the United States for more than 200 commodities. Another critical database is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which estimates the health and nutritional status of the U.S.
From page 365...
... The committee also notes the need to build human capacity in the field of systems science research. As this report has pointed out, a fuller understanding of the implications of changes to the food system could be gained by more integrated analyses, yet much research in these domains remains narrowly focused and linear in its design. Training scientists in academia, the private sector, and government agencies in all aspects of complex systems approaches -- including systems research design, data collection and analytical methodologies, and the use of models -- would remove some of the barriers impeding progress.

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