Knowledge for better food systems

Fodder: The FCRN food sustainability newsletter

The FCRN’s weekly newsletter on food sustainability, Fodder, rounds up the latest journal papers, reports, books, jobs, events and more. Sign up to receive it here.

Network updates

From the FCRN: 22 July 2020

Reminder: We are hiring a Strategic Coordinator

The University of Oxford is hiring a Strategic Coordinator for Table, a new partnership between the University of Oxford, Wageningen University & Research and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences that aims to explore key contestations and debates around food. Table will build on and ultimately replace the Food Climate Research Network.

The role will involve establishing Table as a known, respected and internationally-relevant initiative with a clearly communicated purpose, coordinating activities among the three participating institutions, placing Table on a secure financial footing, and helping expand the partnership to four or more members. 

We are looking for someone with a PhD in a relevant field, or equivalent professional experience, an excellent and proven track record in securing external funding for research, including grant writing, budget management, and knowledge of the funding and grant making landscape as relevant to food.

See details of the job vacancy here. The deadline for applying is 24 August 2020.

In Fodder this week

The vast majority of national dietary guidelines miss one of six global health and environmental targets; aquaculture accounts for 0.49% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions; ethical trading schemes may not be the best tool for protecting human rights; and antibiotic use in livestock is several times higher in the United States than in the United Kingdom.

Fodder is taking a break for the summer

We hope you have a good summer. Look out for our next newsletter in late August. 

Featured FCRN publication

This Foodsource chapter, written in 2016, addresses the following:

  • How significant are the global food system’s greenhouse gas emissions as compared with other human caused emissions?
  • Where in the food system do greenhouse gas emissions arise? And how do different parts of the food system differ in their contribution to overall emissions?
  • What foods and types of food production contribute the most to emissions from agriculture?
  • How are the emissions from foods affected by the location and seasonality of production, its transport, storage and packaging?
  • How do food systems contribute to emissions from land use change, such as deforestation?

Read the full chapter, Food systems and greenhouse gas emissions, here or download the PDF version here.

Research library

Image: Victoria Rachitzky Hoch, Abacaxi, piña, pineapple, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

FCRN member Margareta Lelea of the German Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture (DITSL) has co-authored this paper, which uses the example of the pineapple supply chain in Uganda to argue that efforts to reduce post-harvest losses often neglect the uses of waste streams by local people.

Image: StockSnap, Paella Rice Peas, Pixabay, Pixabay Licence

This modelling study, co-authored by FCRN member Luke Spajic, analyses both the health and environmental outcomes of national dietary guidelines from 85 countries, then compares these outcomes to global health and environmental targets, as well as the outcomes of the diets recommended by the World Health Organisation and the EAT-Lancet Commission. The vast majority of guidelines - 83 in total, or 98% - were found to be incompatible with at least one health or environmental target.

Image: arjunreddy223344, Drum Stick Drumstick Tree, Pixabay, Pixabay Licence

This paper by FCRN member Eric Toensmeier argues that perennial vegetables (those grown on plants that live for more than two years) are underappreciated as a source of nutrients, as a means of sequestering carbon and as beneficial to biodiversity.

Image: 1957725, Oyster farm, Pixabay, Pixabay Licence

In this paper, FCRN member Michael MacLeod reports that global aquaculture produced around 0.49% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 - a similar quantity to the emissions from sheep meat production. When emissions are measured per kg of edible product, the paper finds aquaculture to have low emissions intensity relative to meat from goats, cattle, buffalo and sheep and similar emissions intensity to meat from pigs and chickens.

Image: stevepb, Kitchen Scale, Pixabay, Pixabay Licence

This paper, co-authored by the FCRN’s Tara Garnett and John Lynch of the Oxford Livestock, Environment and People programme, identifies and discusses four challenges associated with attributional life cycle assessment.

This report from the US nonprofit Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Integrity looks at 40 multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) - voluntary standards set by civil society organisations and industry, such as Fairtrade International, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and the Marine Stewardship Council - and concludes that MSIs are not effective at holding corporations accountable for abuses or protecting human rights.

This report from the European Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics notes that a no-deal Brexit could lead to an increase in the amount of meat imported to the UK from outside the European Union, in part because of possible tariff cuts and in part because food standards may change. The report finds that antibiotic use per tonne of livestock unit is five times higher in the US than in the UK and also higher than antibiotic use in most European countries.

This progress report from the UK’s Committee on Climate Change assesses progress in reducing UK greenhouse gas emissions over the past year and makes recommendations on how to ensure the post-COVID-19 recovery is green and resilient. It includes discussions of agriculture, diets and land-use change.

This report from the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations reviews trends in food production and consumption, with a focus on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It finds that meat production is likely to contract in 2020 because of COVID-19, animal diseases and droughts, while seafood production has been affected by restaurant closures and restrictions on the operations of fishing fleets.

This book offers an accessible introduction to the field of environmental justice, including chapters on food, agriculture and environmental justice, biodiversity, water, decolonisation, racism and gender.

This book looks at how fungi can be used in sustainable agriculture, for example as a fertiliser, for management of drought and as a growth promoter.

UK NGO the Food Foundation has published its Plating up Progress 2020 analysis of the progress being made by major UK-operating businesses within the food retail, foodservice and restaurant chain sectors across key themes relating to the transition to a healthy and sustainable food system.

FCRN member Allison Gacad has written this article on how epigenetic modification of plants could enhance food security by enabling crops to activate or deactivate certain genes depending on environmental conditions.


This taught Masters course at the University of Warwick considers the critical factors influencing global food security including the contribution of climate change, biodiversity, water, soil, land use, labour, diet and urbanisation.

Read more here. There is no deadline for UK/EU students (the course starts on 5 October 2020 with welcome week being the week before). For international students the deadline is 31 July 2020.

US non-profit EcoAgriculture is advertising two internship vacancies:

  • A programme intern, who will gain an understanding of integrated landscape management by supporting the work EcoAgriculture does in finance, policy, capacity development, and climate-smart agriculture. 
  • A communications intern, who will undertake communications activities for EcoAgriculture Partners over a negotiable period that can begin as soon as the right candidate is available. 

The deadline is 24 July 2020 for both positions. They are remote working positions, with the Eastern US time zone being preferred.


The first Northern Real Farming Conference (NRFC) will run from 28 September to 10 October 2020, in a mostly online format, inspired and supported by the long-running Oxford Real Farming Conference.

Proposals are open for presentations, workshops, panel discussions, themed open conversations, virtual farm tours, or any other kind of interactive or informative session.

Read more here. The deadline is 26 July 2020.


The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is seeking to appoint a Research Assistant or Research Fellow to join an interdisciplinary team working on environment, agriculture, trade, nutrition and health, focusing on the AMPHoRA research project which is exploring methods of reducing air pollution from agriculture in the UK.

The post holder will hold an MSc (Research Assistant) or PhD (Research Fellow) in a relevant discipline (including Nutrition, Epidemiology, Public Health or Statistics), and will have experience of creating, managing and analysing large and complex datasets related to human health, food consumption or nutrition. 

Read more here. The deadline is 28 July 2020.


UK agricultural consultancy ADAS is currently undertaking a project with WWF-UK and Tesco to develop a roadmap for the scaling up of insect protein production for use in animal feed. 

As part of the project, ADAS is conducting a survey to engage with stakeholders across the industry (including insect producers, feed suppliers, farmers, processors, researchers, waste stream owners, regulators etc.) to identify the challenges and opportunities of scaling the production of insects for animal feed, as well as the barriers that might need to be overcome, and the possible solutions that could address these.

Take the survey here. The deadline is 30 July 2020. For more information, please contact

The Hudson Institute (US think tank) is offering a Food Policy Internship - an opportunity to contribute to the development of innovative policy solutions designed to transform the way public health advocates and corporations resolve tough health and nutrition issues. Interns will work on policy proposals, position papers, and analyses. 

Candidates should be current students working toward, or recent graduates holding, a degree in business, economics, or related fields, have a strong interest in contributing to the solution of one of the world's biggest public health issues and possess excellent writing, communications, and interpersonal skills.

Read more here. The deadline is 31 July 2020.


The University of Cambridge is hiring a Research Assistant or Associate to work in the Horizon-2020 project 'Combining Approaches for Photosynthetic Improvement to Allow Increased Sustainability in European agriculture (CAPITALISE)'.

A strong background in plant biology or photosynthesis and a good grasp of experimental design and statistical analysis are required.

Read more here. The deadline is 9 August 2020.

FoodFutures, North Lancashire's Sustainable Food Network, is hiring a Grower and FarmStart Trainer to set up and coordinate a successful 1 acre market garden (and other growing sites) and to run a FarmStart training and education programme.

Read more here. The deadline is 9 August 2020.

The Environmental Policy Group at Wageningen University is seeking an Assistant or Associate Professor to contribute to current (social) scientific debates on the policy, governance and practice of transforming food systems, integrating environmental concerns (e.g. climate change, biodiversity loss, fresh water scarcity), health concerns (the triple burden of malnutrition: hunger, micro-nutrient deficiencies and obesity) and socio-economic concerns (livelihoods of small farmers, global justice, influence from large private companies).

Read more here. The deadline is 13 Aug 2020.

The UK’s Food Ethics Council is recruiting for a part-time Project Manager for its Livestock Transition Dialogues work, new project working with farmers in the UK to accelerate the transition to sustainable farming. This is a part-time (22.5hrs/ week) role on a fixed-term (three-year) contract.

For further details, including a job description, person specification and how to apply, please see here. The deadline is 28 Aug 2020.


UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County is running a webinar on 23 July 2020 on "regenerative agriculture" and "resilient landscaping", two terms that have recently made their way into the mainstream. The webinar will explore what the terms mean and how their principles can be applied. 

Read more here.

This virtual conference on 28 and 29 July 2020 will analyse trends in global agriculture and aquaculture, with a view to better understand their contribution and place within the global food system. The event is hosted by the International Institute of Knowledge Management.

Read more here

Led by Robin Price of Water Resources East, this roundtable discussion on 28 July 2020 will discuss the role of food production and rising environmental standards. It will ask:

  • Do ever tightening environmental demands mean that higher agricultural output is constrained and that compromises in water allocation need to be made?
  • Are there already innovative exemplars in Eastern England or are people finding it difficult to balance the two?
  • What opportunities and incentives are there currently, or available in the future, and how effective will these be?

Read more here