Topic outline

This course is part of a series of three e-learning courses on Sustainable Food Systems (SFS), designed to equip you with the knowledge and tools required to apply systems thinking to complex food systems challenges in an integrated manner.

The course series highlights how systems thinking, and taking a sustainable food systems approach, can help to significantly improve our work in project and policy design for sustainable food systems development and transformation.

This second course in the series explores key concepts for sustainable food systems in more detail, and presents an analytical framework to describe and analyse the complexity and various elements that constitute food systems.


The course primarily targets development practitioners and policy-makers working on the development of sustainable food systems. It will also benefit those interested in learning more about food systems and how to develop sustainable food systems, such as:

  • Farmer representatives
  • Support services providers
  • Consumers
  • Agribusiness representatives
  • Development practitioners
  • Government policy-makers

  • The concepts of interlinkages and sustainability in food systems, including sustainability trade-offs.
  • The concept of value-added in sustainable food systems development.
  • Applying the Food System Wheel as an analytical framework to describe and analyse food systems.
  • The Structure - Conduct - Performance (S-C-P) and SFS development paradigms to explain the dynamics of the Food System Wheel.

The course consists of 2 lessons of 30 and 40 minutes duration respectively:

  • Lesson 1 - Key concepts in sustainable food systems
  • Lesson 2 - An analytical framework

The online version of this course runs on the latest versions of the major browsers, such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari.

The downloadable version only runs on Windows PC’s and no additional software is needed.

Digital certification

This course offers certification. You will get your digital badge upon passing a final exam after completing the course and achieving a grade of at least 75%. Please click on the button below to complete the exam, or refer to our Certification section to learn more.

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    • Partners

      This course was developed in collaboration with the One Planet Network's Sustainable Food Systems Programme" 

        German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development