Food system research requires an understanding of system actors and activities. To this end, we codesigned and conducted a food system mapping process in 2 regions, one in Kenya and the other in Bolivia, that stretches frommountains to lowlands and involves sites of interconnected food system strategies related to these habitats. We adapted an existing method of mapping local food webs to an approach that subdivides food systems into 4 subsystems: operational, political, information and services, and natural resources. Through the mapping process, a group of local and external researchers and practitioners identified the most important food value chains in the study areas. They also identified the value chains' reach, as well as related actors; flows ofknowledge, information, and finance; and the natural resources the food systems depend on. A power/interest matrix complemented the mapping results with information about different actors' roles in the food systems; this can help to identify the best target groups and entry points for efforts to improve the sustainability of food systems in the diverse habitats forming part of these food systems. Mapping and a brief analysis of actors and interests are first steps toward assessing the sustainability of a food system. The participatory nature of our approach enhanced coordination between projects of research and practice and helped to increase the relevance and applicability of the mapping results and related activities.
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