Knowledge for better food systems

Fodder: The FCRN Newsletter

We send out a weekly newsletter which provides an essential round-up of food sustainability-relevant publications, articles, jobs and events. Sign up to receive it here.

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Your new Fodder

We are pleased to introduce a new and slightly different type of Fodder this week, following our recent user survey. We have rethought the newsletter design, and you will now find that the summaries are (generally) shorter, but there are more of them and they cover a greater variety of topics.

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In Fodder this week

In Fodder this week, we cover research on the attitudes of US consumers towards meat reduction as well as a paper which examines attitudes of consumers towards alternatives to conventional burgers. As a paper finds that half of Bornean orangutans have disappeared in just 16 years, another study shows that there is potential to increase cropping intensity without expanding the area of global cropland. Researchers have also estimated that ambitious climate mitigation measures could remove the need to use bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). We also have three reports that look at the meat industry.

As usual, we also have a round up of jobs, other opportunities and events.

Research library

Journals and Journal Articles

Image: Martin Bjørnskov, Marbæk, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

A new paper finds that a range of “ambitious but not unrealistic” climate mitigation options could, together, mean that using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is not necessary for staying within 1.5°C of warming. Mitigation options considered include limiting population, lower meat consumption and use of lab-grown meat, lifestyle changes such as lower car use, electrification of energy end-use sectors, high efficiency manufacturing, agricultural intensification and mitigation of non-CO2 greenhouse gases.

Image: Tomatoes and friends, Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Tofu, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

This paper is the first to provide US data about what people eat when they reduce their meat consumption without becoming vegetarian or vegan. The objective of the research was to understand what is eaten in meatless meals and Americans’ attitudes to and perceptions of meat reduction.

Image: Engin_Akyurt, Burger bread meat, Pixabay, Creative Commons CC0

This paper used a survey to explore consumer views of burgers made from beef, plant-based or cultured meat. The survey participants were asked to choose, hypothetically, between the varieties of burger and were told that all burgers tasted the same (the participants did not actually get to try any burgers during the experiment). The results predict that, if prices were equal, 65% of consumers would buy the beef burger, 21% the plant-based burger, 11% the cultured meat burger and 4% would not buy any.

Image: Alistair Kitchen, Orangutan Baby, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

A study shows that 100,000 orangutans in Borneo have been lost between 1999 and 2015 - around half of the population. The results show that this precipitous decrease is not just due to deforestation, since numbers of orangutans also declined in selectively logged and intact forests.

Image: ILRI, Groundnut farmer in Malawi, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

This article looks at our ability to increase cropping intensity in order to meet future food needs and avoid expanding cropped land area. The research produces spatially explicit information on the cropping intensity gap, i.e. the difference between actual and potential cropping intensity and finds that increasing cropping intensity could compensate for land lost to urbanisation.


A new report, The Avoidable Crisis, finds that large-scale deforestation, fires and human rights abuses are linked to soy plantations and the global meat industry.

Eating Better has published a new report setting out their suggested approach to eating “less and better” meat and dairy. They set out eight principles, including: eat less meat and dairy; reduce waste; choose smaller scale, higher standard producers; and avoid livestock fed on imported feedstuffs such as soy. The report also includes a guide to assurance and labelling schemes to help people choose better meat and dairy.

A report from the WWF examines the environmental impacts, including carbon footprint, associated with four classic British dishes, and identifies twenty risks that climate change poses to the production of these dishes.

A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine summarises a webinar and workshop that addressed the current state of knowledge on managing land to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the research needed for predicting the relevant impacts of land use change and management practices and the state of knowledge on policies, incentives, and socio-economic constraints on terrestrial carbon sequestration activities.


This book, by Sirpa Sarlio, explores various aspects of the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the global food system, discusses health and sustainability aspects of specific foods including insects and meat substitutes and sets out options for promoting healthy and sustainable diets.

This book, edited by Fabien Girard and Christine Frison, shows how innovative legal frameworks could better support the need for diversity in crop varieties while maintaining incentives for agricultural innovation, with a particular focus on the concept of the commons.


The World Resources Institute has launched Resource Watch, an online tool for accessing and visualising data about resource use and sustainability issues around the world.

The Nordic Food Policy Lab, which collects and curates Nordic food policy solutions responding to the UN Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, has launched a new email newsletter, Frontiers of Food. The newsletter will contain the latest updates, thoughts and case studies on innovative food policy around the world.


Image: Adcro, The exterior of an Iceland supermarket in Horwich, Bolton, Greater Manchester, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Frozen food supermarket Iceland has pledged to remove palm oil from all of its own-brand lines by the end of 2018, citing concerns over collapsing orangutan populations and deforestation. The initiative - the first of its kind among major UK supermarkets - should reduce demand for palm oil by over 500 tonnes a year.

Image: Tom Driggers, Imported!!, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

173 countries have agreed to halve emissions from the global shipping industry by 2050, compared to 2008 levels, in a non-binding deal arranged by the International Maritime Organisation. Saudi Arabia, the US and several other countries raised objections to the proposed emissions cuts. Shipping was not covered by the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change.

Image: Raffa be, Seawater Greenhouse in Tenerife two years after being installed, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

Wired explores the Seawater Greenhouse, which uses solar power to desalinate seawater for irrigating greenhouses, and inventor Charlie Paton’s quest to bring the technology to regions suffering drought and food insecurity.


The Oxford Real Farming Conference is hiring a Conference Manager to deliver the next conference. Knowledge and experience of agroecology, food and farming are desirable, but the key skills needed are project/event management.

For more details, see here. The deadline for applications is 4 May.

The University of Goettingen is establishing a new tenure-track professorship “Nutrition and Agriculture” in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development. In research and teaching, the new professor will address issues of human diets and nutrition from a socioeconomics food systems perspective at the interface between agriculture and nutritional sciences.

Candidates should have a university degree, an outstanding dissertation and an excellent publication record. Candidates with broad international interest and experiences will be preferred. Teaching will mostly be in English, but for non-German speakers, the willingness to learn German and be able to also teach in German after some time is expected.

For more details, see here. The deadline for applications is 10 May.

ReFED is a non-profit that aims to reduce US food waste. It is hiring a capital and innovation manager to work with investors and innovators to increase capital flows to food waste solutions and build collaborative relationships with a range of stakeholders.

Candidates should have at least two years of experience of project and programme management, be able to synthesise information into compelling recommendations and have a strong working knowledge of food systems and sustainability.

For more information, see here or view the full job description here (PDF link). No deadline is specified.

Food Shift is a non-profit that works to develop collaborative models that reduce wasted food, feed communities, and provide jobs. It is hiring a programme manager to build, manage and train the core team of volunteers and staff, and build engagement between Food Shift and potential donors.

Candidates should have at least three years of programme management and/or community organising experience, preferably in the areas of food justice or sustainable food systems, working knowledge of budgeting, strong capacity for mentoring and excellent organisational and communication skills.

For more details, see here. No deadline is specified.

The World Future Council is seeking nominations for the Future Policy Award, which will celebrate exemplary legal frameworks and policies scaling up agroecology.

Nominated policies should contribute to the protection of life and livelihoods of smallholders and family farmers, ensure sustainable and inclusive food production systems and implement sustainable agricultural practices. Policies should have been running for long enough for their effectiveness and impact to be demonstrated.

For more details, see here. The deadline is 1 May.

Abstracts are invited for the Third International AgriUrb Conference – Agriculture and Food in an Urbanizing Society, which will be held at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul on 17 to 21 September 2018. The theme of the conference is “Healthy food, socio-biodiversity and sustainable agri-food systems: innovations from consumption to production”.

For more information, see here. Abstracts must be submitted by 8 June.

Abstracts are invited for the 3rd Agriculture and Climate Change Conference which will be held in Budapest on 24 to 26 Mar 2019. The conference will focus on the likely impact of climate change on crop production and explore approaches to maintain and increase crop productivity into the future.

For more details, see here. The deadline for abstract submission is 22 October 2018.

A number of Horizon 2020 funding calls that may be of interest to Fodder readers are open or forthcoming.

Open now, deadline 6 Sept 2018:

BBI.2018.SO3.F2: Large-scale production of proteins for food and feed applications from alternative, sustainable sources

BBI.2018.SO3.D5: Produce sustainable and cost-efficient high-performance functional ingredients from alternative sources

Opening on 16 Oct 2018, deadline 23 Jan 2019:

LC-SFS-17-2019: Alternative proteins for food and feed

LC-SFS-20-2019: European Joint Programme on agricultural soil management

LC-SFS-19-2018-2019: Climate-smart and resilient farming

LC-SFS-34-2019: Food Systems Africa

SFS-08-2018-2019: Improving animal welfare

SFS-01-2018-2019-2020: Biodiversity in action: across farmland and the value chain

SFS-05-2018-2019-2020: New and emerging risks to plant health

SFS-23-2019: Integrated water management in small agricultural catchments

SFS-28-2018-2019-2020: Genetic resources and pre-breeding communities

SFS-37-2019: Integrated approaches to food safety controls across the food chain

SFS-11-2018-2019: Anti-microbials and animal production

SFS-35-2019-2020: Sustainable Intensification in Africa

CE-SFS-24-2019: Innovative and citizen-driven food system approaches in cities

CE-SFS-24-2019: Innovative and citizen-driven food system approaches in cities

CE-SFS-39-2019: High-quality organic fertilisers from biogas digestate

DT-SFS-26-2019: Food Cloud demonstrators

RUR-04-2018-2019: Analytical tools and models to support policies related to agriculture and food

Opening 14 Nov, deadline 19 Feb 2019:

LC-CLA-02-2019: Negative emissions and land-use based mitigation assessment

For more funding calls, you can search the Horizon 2020 database here.


The Seeds&Chips Global Food Innovation Summit aims to showcase national and international talent and cutting-edge solutions from around the world. It will be held on 7 to 10 May in Milan, Italy. Sessions will cover topics including the future of nutrition, local supply chains and indoor and vertical farming.

For more details and to register, see here.

The EU Food and Farming Forum 2018 on 29 to 31 May 2018 is a two-day event bringing together 200 food system actors from around Europe to co-develop a comprehensive set of policy proposals – a ‘Sustainable Food Scoreboard’ – for reforming European food and farming systems.

Registration is by email invitation. If you have not been contacted but would like to take part, you can email For more details, see here.

The BCFN Foundation runs the International Forum on Food and Nutrition: an event founded to provide an open space for interdisciplinary discussion on issues of nutrition and sustainability. The first of three sessions this year, the Brussels forum on 6 June will focus on the topic “Migration and agri-food systems, causes and solutions”.

For more details, see here and for free tickets, see here.

Food Brexit 2018, organised by New Food Magazine, will be held on 1 Nov 2018. It will be the second in a series of three events, aiming to provide the food and beverage industry with a platform to share strategy, insight and knowledge.

Topics will include:

  • Update on negotiations and forecasts
  • Building new European and international partnerships
  • Voice of the regions: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Ireland
  • Mitigating and managing risk – business resilience and the potential for a ‘black swan’ scenario
  • Brexit, the threat to food safety and security
  • Brexit’s global impact

For more details and to register your interest, see here.

F&A Next’s 2018 Food Innovation Summit on 30 to 31 May will host investors, farmers, food & agribusiness executives and opinion leaders for one and a half day of pitching, networking and debating the dynamics in food and agriculture. This year’s theme is Scaling Tech for Sustainable Food Systems.

For more information, see here. An early bird discount is available before 1 May.