The LASTING Project: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Measuring Sustainable Diets
Research on the impacts of dietary patterns on human and planetary health is a rapidly growing field. A wide range of metrics, datasets and analytical techniques have been applied to exploring the role of dietary choices/constraints in driving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, environmental degradation, health and disease outcomes, social outcomes, and the cost and affordability of food baskets. Many argue that each of these outcome domains is important, but few have tackled all four simultaneously in modelling diet-outcome relationships.
The Leading A Sustainability Transition In Nutrition Globally (LASTING) Project aims fill this gap by putting diets at the core of science and policy to improve all four pillars of sustainability, environmental, health, economic, and social, simultaneously. This presentation will give an overview of the innovative, interdisciplinary approach of the LASTING Project being led by four faculty members at the Friedman School. It will then be followed by a showcase of the methods and preliminary results of a review paper that aims to synthesize the research gaps in the “sustainable diets” space. We will end by outlining what research is urgently needed to tell us about dietary impacts on all relevant human and planetary domains and how the LASTING Project and the food and nutrition at large community can create clear evidence that supports this multi-pillar approach to sustainability and food system transformation.
Dr. Nicole Tichenor Blackstone is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Agriculture, Food, and Environment at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Nicole’s research focuses on developing and evaluating strategies to improve food system sustainability. Her work fuses industrial ecology, nutrition, and social science methods. To date, her research has explored the environmental and social implications of livestock agriculture, human diets, food waste management, and regional food systems. She is the lead PI of the LASTING Project as well as a co-lead on Aim 3 which focuses on modeling the sustainability outcomes of shifting diets.
Dr. Patrick Webb is a Professor with the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. He is a scholar-practitioner who has worked extensively on food security policy and practice, nutrition, agricultural development, humanitarian emergencies, and climate change interactions with food systems. He currently manages several large projects, including Feed the Future’s Food Systems for Nutrition Innovation Lab, while also serving a co-lead of the Food, Water and Air (FWA) technical hub for USAID’s STOP Zoonosis Spillover activity. He is leading Aim 1 of the LASTING Project focused on a review to identify the gaps in diet sustainability research.