Responses to past food crises have made the global system more fragile and vulnerable to complex food crises such as COVID-19; a paper sketches out three visions of biodiversity and food in 2050, arguing that creativity and imagination are important for generating solutions; shifting to low-meat or vegan diets could allow significant carbon sequestration.
Blog post: Plating Up Progress
In case you missed it, our former colleague Will Nicholson of the Food Foundation has written a blog post on the latest findings of the Plating Up Progress project. He finds that supermarkets have generally made more progress on environmental issues than restaurants and caterers, but almost all companies assessed lack clear targets on encouraging healthy diets.
Lower-meat diets allow a greater degree of food system localisation in the United States; the “less but better meat” message needs to be defined more clearly, argue researchers; Forum for the Future identifies barriers to scaling regenerative agriculture in the United States; FCRN member Emma Garnett finds that placing vegetarian options first in a canteen can increase sales in some circumstances; and FCRN member James Painter summarises his research on media coverage of animal agriculture.
Regeneration of native woodland on former sheep pasture could be a financially viable strategy for farmers; limited progress has been made on global biodiversity targets; FCRN member Simon Bager assesses sustainability strategies in the global coffee sector; FCRN member David Cleveland quantifies the animal welfare and environmental implications of replacing eggs with soy; and FCRN member Paul Behrens explores both pessimistic and optimistic visions of the future of food, energy and climate in a new book, “The Best of Times, The Worst of Times”.
FCRN member Raychel Santo reviews the various impacts of both plant-based meat substitutes and cell-based meats; FCRN member David Little explores four scenarios for the future of aquaculture; partly following the UK’s Eatwell dietary guidelines is associated with a reduction in mortality risk and dietary greenhouse gas emissions compared to low adherence to the guidelines; and the UK government has opened a consultation on a new law that would require large businesses to demonstrate that their supply chains do not contribute to illegal deforestation.
Part One of the UK’s National Food Strategy sets out recommendations for how the UK food system can adapt to COVID-19 and Brexit; a report claims that the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa lacks transparency and takes away freedom of choice from small-scale food producers; a review of nitrogen policies finds that environmental policies are often not well integrated across various domains.
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. 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.
We are hiring a Strategic Coordinator for Table, a new partnership between the University of Oxford, Wageningen University & Research and the Swedish Agricultural University that aims to explore key contestations and debates around food. 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 and to help 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. The deadline for applying is 24 August 2020.
In Fodder this week
Coconut oil threatens a much higher number of species than palm oil per million tonnes of oil produced; the Good Food Institute has launched a collaborative research directory on alternative proteins; and FCRN member David Willer argues that bivalve shellfish could offer a low-impact protein source for nearly a billion people.
In case you missed it, our director Tara Garnett has written a blog post to introduce Table, a new collaboration between the University of Oxford, Wageningen University and Research and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, which will launch later this year, and which builds on and ultimately replaces the FCRN.
Read about Table here.
In Fodder this week
Two reports (here and here) by Feedback explore the impacts of the Scottish farmed salmon sector while a paper finds that alternative fish feeds could reduce aquaculture’s demand for forage fish; Trase reports that deforestation in some commodity supply chains is heavily concentrated in a small fraction of production regions; and plans to heat greenhouses with waste heat from water treatment plans could help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
FCRN member Susannah Fleiss finds that setting aside areas of forest within oil palm plantations can store carbon and encourage plant biodiversity; the journal Agriculture and Human Values has put together a special collection of articles on food and COVID-19; and the European Commission’s Science for Environment Policy sets out the importance of monitoring pollinator populations and suggests some methods for doing so.
The United Nations says that COVID-19 could cause disruption to the global food system on a scale not seen for over half a century and calls for coordinated action; Johns Hopkins University and The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition have released an interactive Food Systems Dashboard; and Pesticide Action Network UK reports that post-Brexit trade deals could increase levels of pesticides in foods sold in the UK.