Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: North America

North America is the northern subcontinent of the Americas covering about 16.5% of the Earth's land area. This large continent has a range of climates spanning Greenland’s permanent ice sheet and the dry deserts of Arizona. Both Canada and the USA are major food producers and some of the largest food exporters in the world. Industrial farms are the norm in North America, with high yields relative to other regions and only 2% of the population involved in agriculture.

15 March 2017

A new study submitted to us by an FCRN member, highlights a final report from a four year, multi-disciplinary research project conducted by the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (located in Richmond, BC, Canada).

15 March 2017

Utilizing a model derived from literature on environmental justice overlaid with multiple scales of agriculture, Environmental Justice and Farm Labor provides key insights about laborers in agriculture in the United States. It addresses three main topics: (1) justice-related issues facing farmers and laborers on farms; (2) how history and policy have impacted them; and (3) the opportunities and leverage points for change in improving justice outcomes.

Image credit: with wind, 400kcal diet, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
15 March 2017

This paper looks at link between diets, health and climate and particularly the effects of adopting healthier diets in the US on the risk of disease, health care costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

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.

3 November 2016

With milk prices in the USA dropping due in part to a fall in demand from Chinese middle class customers, large stockpiles of cheese now lie waiting.

Credit: Dan zen, Golden soy, Flickr, Creative Commons Licence 2.0
11 October 2016

This paper by researchers in the US and Australia reports the findings of a long-term field-trial-based investigation into the effect of elevated carbon dioxide concentrations (CO2) on soy yield and drought tolerance. Their findings challenge the widely-held belief that crop yield will be increased by elevated CO2 (the so-called CO2 fertilisation effect) both because of increased photosynthetic rate, and because of lower susceptibility to drought: it has long been assumed that in higher CO2 conditions, stomatal conductance will be lower, leading to slower water loss from the leaves, slower water uptake from the roots, and consequently more moisture remaining in the soil for longer, thereby sustaining crops in limited rainfall.

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: Holistic Management, Mob grazing, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
6 September 2016

As methane produced by ruminants is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), many researchers and organisations have pointed to the necessity of reducing ruminant stocks around the world. In this study, the authors argue that with the right crop and grazing management, ruminants might not only reduce overall GHG emissions, but could, in fact, facilitate increases in soil carbon, and reduce environmental damage related to current cropping practices.

Image: US Department of Agriculture Cropland Data Layer, Flickr
31 August 2016

Future demand for food and for land is set to grow. A key question is therefore: how can we most productively use land for food, in order balance the multiple competing demands for the ecosystem services it provides? One way this has been investigated previously is by looking at crop yields and how to increase them. Another way, focussing instead on the consumption side, has looked at the metric of dietary land footprint.

Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns, New York, Flickr, Creative commons licence 2.0
16 August 2016

In this PhD thesis, Leah M. Ashe from Cardiff University School of Planning and Geography, examines how narratives of “food security” are constructed in New York city and Bogotá and how they are influenced by different development ideologies and discourses.

Photo: USDA, People eating out at a fast food restaurant, Flickr, creative commons licence 2.0
16 August 2016

This paper provides a detailed case study of the history and controversy surrounding the proposed inclusion of sustainability information in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) – a body composed of nutritionists, physicians, and public health experts, tasked with reviewing the evidence base for the guidelines every 5 years.

Photo: Devika, Chane ki daal, Flickr, creative commons licence, 2.0
16 August 2016

This study, which analyses data from two long-term epidemiologic research studies in the US, found that specific food sources of protein in the diet affected health outcomes in differing ways. Taking into account a number of other dietary and lifestyle factors, the authors showed that animal protein intake was weakly associated with a higher risk for mortality.

20 April 2016

This study looks into how residential landscapes in Chicago, USA, which constitute the largest single urban land use, benefit ecosystems. It argues that even though we often don’t associate modern urban areas with healthy ecosystems, home gardens in urban landscapes can contribute to important ecosystem services.

16 February 2016

This report by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) represents a consensus of more than 30 authors from 19 institutions across four countries. The report brings together modelling and forecasting research on climate change to the year 2100, and explores how these changes will affect food and agricultural systems worldwide, and in particular in the US.

18 January 2016

The FCRN has previously reported on the controversy over the development of the 2015 US dietary guidelines, and in particular the vociferous debate as to whether they should include sustainability considerations.

Pages