Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Issues

Food is a nodal point for multiple interconnected issues and concerns. The categories below highlight a few of the most critical, including food security and nutrition, water, governance and policy, and health issues.

12 September 2017

This book by Nick Silver provides an in-depth critique of the current financial system.

12 September 2017

This is a baseline report by research consortium INHERIT funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. The INHERIT project aims to identify effective inter-sectoral policies, interventions and innovations that enable a ‘triple win’ by reducing environmental impacts, improving health and wellbeing, and generating greater health equity.

Photo: Areeb Anwer, Flickr, Creative Commons License Attribution 2.0 Generic
12 September 2017

These two papers in the journal The Lancet report on the initial findings of the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study. This large population-based study found that a diet that includes a moderate intake of fat and fruits and vegetables, and in which less than 60% of energy comes from carbohydrates, is associated with lower risk of death. The authors call for a reconsideration of global dietary recommendations in light of their results.

6 September 2017

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) have developed an Excel spreadsheet that can assist in calculating the nutrient value of food that is wasted. 

Figure 1: Photo Credit: Franchise Opportunities, a pet's food and water bowl, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
6 September 2017

In a paper in PLOS One, researcher Gregory Okin suggests that the diets of carnivorous pets, like cats and dogs, have a significant impact on climate change. He estimates that in the U.S. alone, cats and dogs are responsible for 25-30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the country. In the U.S. there are 163 million cats and dogs, which together eat as much food as all the people in France. Okin found that to feed these animals the US releases 64 million tons of CO2.

6 September 2017

Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions has released a report based on their conference ‘Sequestering Carbon in Soil:  Addressing the Climate Threat’ held in May 2017. 

Photo: Mr Beans, Kenneth Leung, Flickr, Creative Commons License Attribution 2.0 Generic
6 September 2017

This study by FCRN member Helen Harwatt and colleagues seeks to determine whether simple dietary changes can make a meaningful contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation efforts, by considering a very simple example of US consumers substituting beans for beef in their diets. The study uses available life cycle assessment (LCA; see Chapter 2 of foodsource) data to predict the change in GHG emissions that would be associated with a substitution of beans for beef (substitution on the basis of calories, and on the basis of protein content). They place these projected changes in the context of US 2020 GHG reduction targets.

Figure 2: Photo Credit, PepOmint, Maple Leaf, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
29 August 2017

Maple Leaf Foods, one of Canada’s largest food manufacturers, has declared that it wants to become “the most sustainable protein company on earth”. With aims to improve nutrition, environmental sustainability, animal care and corporate responsibility, CEO Michael M. McCain released a statement saying that “Our food system has drifted from its roots, to nourish wellbeing, to farm sustainably, to view food as a universal good for all. We must serve the world better.”

Photo credit: Isaac Wedin, Salmon face, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
29 August 2017

After a 25 year wait for approval, approximately five tons of genetically modified (GM) salmon have been sold in Canada in the last few months. The fish, which contains genes from Chinook salmon and ocean pout, can grow twice as fast as an Atlantic salmon and requires 75% less feed to grow to the same size. These changes can ultimately reduce the carbon footprint of each genetically modified salmon by up to 25 times, the company claims.

29 August 2017

This book contains six chapters on food security and sustainability in the Middle East. The book can be purchased in its entirety or by chapter online.

29 August 2017

Eating Better, an alliance of British organisations working together to help people move towards eating less meat and dairy, has published a policy report entitled ‘Beyond the CAP: policies to support better UK meat and dairy production post-Brexit’.

Photo credit: Suzanne LaGasa, P1130514 Meninos, Flickr, Creative Commons Licence 2.0
29 August 2017

This collection of papers in the journal Global Food Security assesses the situation of food security and the implications of food security governance on people’s lives in several Latin American countries, using experience-based food security scales questionnaires (EBFSSs). Ultimately these papers seek to address deficiencies in food security governance and put forward the case for more empirical research into the subject. The authors argue that improving food security governance in the region is complex but of the utmost importance. This would require improved cross-sector coordination and household (in)security monitoring through empirical measures such as EBFSSs.

Figure 1: Photo credit: Pete, Project 365 #193: 120713 Ugly Fruit?, Flickr, Creative Commons Licence 2.0
29 August 2017

This paper describes an online choice experiment to understand consumer preferences around best-before dates, appearance, and packaging of food products; the paper specifically studies the demand for discounted ‘suboptimal’ products in the supermarket, and consumers’ willingness to use them in the home. 

Photo: William Warby, Scorched Earth, Flickr, Creative Commons Licence Attribution 2.0 Generic
29 August 2017

In this opinion piece, Edward Parson of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, UCLA, argues that Climate Engineering (CE) must urgently be given greater and more serious consideration within climate change research and policy, and calls upon the IPCC to take responsibility for this.

24 July 2017

A small amount of single-cell protein has been produced using electricity and carbon dioxide alone. The researchers working on this believe the protein produced in this way could be further developed for use as food and animal feed. The protein can be produced anywhere that renewable energy, such as solar energy, is available.

24 July 2017

The journal Agriculture for Development invited the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) to produce a special issue which provides a broad-ranging selection of articles, news from the field, and book reviews in the area of climate smart agriculture. 

19 July 2017

The world’s largest agricultural commodities supplier,  Cargill, obtained its highest profit in six years based on an increasing demand for meat. Animal nutrition and protein were the largest contributor to quarterly earnings for the company.

19 July 2017

Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit organization working with influential investors and companies, has released a new website to help investors when they make decisions to invest in food or agriculture companies. They argue that agricultural commodity trade is highly affected by issues such as climate change, deforestation, water use and pollution, and that companies need to take these into account in order to improve supply chain security and ensure consumer acceptability.

19 July 2017

The IFST, a UK-based body for food professionals in Europe, has commissioned a report aimed at identifying areas of future work which they feel would be of most use to their members. The report focuses on food sustainability,  technology and evidence-based practice. 

Photo: Feral Arts, “Little River Landcare Group - Machinery Conversion Field Day”, Flickr, Creative Commons license Attribution 2.0 Generic.
19 July 2017

This OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries report employs a meta-analysis/literature review approach to identify and analyse barriers to the adoption of “climate-friendly” policies in agriculture; that is, the adoption of measures to enhance the adaptation of farming to the impacts of climate change, and the mitigation of its contributions to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It should be noted that the report does not go into specifics about what constitutes a climate-friendly practice: this is taken to be an understood concept and the focus of the report is on the barriers to adoption of these measures, not the measures themselves.

13 July 2017

These are two briefings by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST).

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