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.
FCRN member Roger Leakey proposes a method of re-booting tropical agriculture; FCRN member Anke Brons examines inclusivity in sustainable diet guidelines; and the World Resources Institute compares carbon footprints of dairy and pork across several countries using carbon opportunity cost.
Agricultural intensification could roughly halve the area of cropland required to produce current levels of output; FCRN member Bálint Balázs argues that Eastern Europe is an overlooked source of inspiration for food policies; and local authorities in Wuhan ban eating or hunting wild animals (except for scientific purposes).
In case you missed it, last week we published a new Foodsource Building Block: Methane and the sustainability of ruminant livestock. The piece introduces the fundamental climate science of two climate metrics (GWP100 and GWP*), highlights some policy and practical considerations relating to different ways of thinking about emissions, and finally situates the discussion within the context of wider concerns about livestock production and sustainability. John Lynch, lead author of the Building Block, has also written a blog post: Can we keep farming cows and sheep without dangerously warming the planet?
In Fodder this week
The carbon footprint of Brazilian soy varies highly depending on the specific region it comes from; a 15% or 30% meat tax or a 10% fruit and vegetable subsidy in the Netherlands would have net benefits to society when considering health and environmental impacts; and “chaos gardens” are feeding food banks and other community groups in the US.
US crop workers could be exposed to three times as many dangerously hot days by the end of the century; the Cercedilla Manifesto calls for scientific meetings to be organised along principles of sustainability; the Breakthrough Institute argues that the benefits of a globalised food system for resilience should not be forgotten; and a study of the UK shows higher ultra-processed food consumption is associated with a higher prevalence of obesity.
Feedback argues that it’s time to divest from large livestock corporations; a paper predicts that climate-driven disruption of ecosystems is likely to happen suddenly, but that the risks will be much lower if climate change can minimised; and the interim report of the Dasgupta review on the Economics of Biodiversity sets out a framework for understanding the economic implications of ecosystem degradation and protection.
A paper maps “foodsheds” - regions that could potentially be self-sufficient in a particular crop - and concludes that less than one-third of the world’s population can be fed on crops produced within 100 km of where they live; a study looks at the statistical links between 12 food system drivers and overall sustainability; and Beyond GM reports on a “world café” that identified some areas of conflict and unexpected agreement between different stakeholders in the debate on genome editing.