Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Vegetables

A vegetable is commonly thought of as any part of a plant consumed as part of a savoury meal (excluding fruits, nuts and cereal grains but including seeds such as pulses). Because vegetables are low in fat and carbohydrates yet high in vitamins, minerals and fibre, they play an important part in human nutrition. While on average vegetables have a fairly low carbon footprint, impacts can vary considerably by the vegetable in question and how it has been produced and distributed. When vegetables are grown in protected heated greenhouses their production can be very energy intensive. A minority of produce is air-freighted, with the associated GHG emissions much increasing the environmental cost of the produce. Low GHG impact produce are generally robust, consumed in season and/or transported by sea and land. Other important environmental concerns include high pesticide use, use of irrigation water and, because of their perishability, waste. Some express concern about the socio-economic impact of horticultural exports from developing countries to developed countries; while this can bring much needed cash to poor economies, shortages of nutritious food locally may be exacerbated by the export culture. Other issues relate to exploitation of workers and low wages.

Photo credit: Migle, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
15 February 2017

This paper provides an overview of dietary guidance for pulses, discussing their nutritional composition and health benefits as well as the evolution of the way in which the USDA’s dietary guidelines categorise pulses. The paper was published in a special issue on The Potential of Pulses to Meet Today’s Health Challenges: Staple Foods in the journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

22 November 2016

This report discusses current and historic vegetable consumption in the UK (no higher now than in the 1970s), the importance of vegetables in the diet and current drivers of vegetable consumption.

16 September 2016

Researchers in California conducted a life cycle assessment to model the climate change mitigation potential of consuming produce grown in household vegetable gardens as opposed to those from stores.

Photo, Suzette, Visiting an organic farm, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
23 August 2016

Alternative cropping systems such as organic or conservation agriculture are often expected to lead to enhanced soil carbon storage as compared with conventional systems, and therefore to hold potential to contribute to climate change mitigation via carbon sequestration.

28 June 2016

Nanotechnology – the designing of ultra-small particles – is part of the evolving science of precision agriculture, and could potentially solve some of the world’s most pressing problems at the food-energy-water nexus as it requires fewer natural resources and water, and enhances plant nutritional values. 

20 April 2016

This report produced by Food Research Collaboration (FRC) outlines the horticulture sector’s potential to create a shift towards healthier diets in the UK by contributing to overall fruit and vegetable consumption.

19 April 2015

This brief argues that rooftop gardens in cities could supply cities with more than three quarters of their vegetable requirements. The brief from the European Commission is based on evidence from a case study from Bologna, Italy.

31 March 2015

In Africa and Latin America, the production of beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, which include higher temperatures and more frequent drought. Climate modeling suggests that, over the next several decades, the area suited for this crop in eastern and central Africa could shrink up to 50% by 2050.

29 January 2015

This article from the Urbanist takes a look at Japan’s indoor farming is portrayed. The successful indoor farming endeavor in Japan is shown through some staggering statistics: 25,000 square feet producing 10,000 heads of lettuce per day (100 times more per square foot than traditional methods) with 40% less power, 80% less food waste and 99% less water usage than outdoor fields.

3 December 2014

Dietary deficiencies of zinc and iron are a substantial global public health problem. An estimated two billion people suffer these deficiencies, causing a loss of 63 million life-years annually.

8 May 2013

The shift towards a more sustainable diet necessitates less reliance on foods of animal origin. This study presents data from a representative survey of Dutch consumers on their practices related to meat, meat substitution and meat reduction.

15 April 2013

A new 90,000-square-foot indoor farm called FarmedHere has recently opened in Chicago and is expected to produce 1 million pounds a year of organic greens like basil, lettuce, mint, and spinach. It is also expected that it will provide hundreds of local jobs.