Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Issues

Food is a nodal point for multiple interconnected issues and concerns. The categories below highlight a few of the most critical, including food security and nutrition, water, governance and policy, and health issues.

21 October 2020

The Food Systems Handbook is an open source project (supported by international food security organisation ALLFED) to collate and tag resources on the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to the food system. The content is aimed at professionals in the food security and food systems field. You can add resources to the Handbook here.

21 October 2020

The Routledge Handbook of Food as a Commons is now available in paperback. The book, edited by Jose Luis Vivero-Pol, Tomaso Ferrando, Olivier De Schutter and Ugo Mattei, engages with different schools of thought on how food can be treated as a commons rather than a privatised commodity. Chapters 1 and 24 are freely available to download.

21 October 2020

This book tells the stories of 13 foods that are endangered by climate warming, discusses their origins and histories, and suggests how to protect them.

21 October 2020

This briefing paper from international charity Oxfam argues that international reactions to acute hunger induced by the COVID-19 pandemic are inadequate. It finds that 55 million people are living in a food crisis or emergency (in South Sudan, Northern Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan and Burkina Faso), more than the 30 million people who faced severe hunger in 2017.

21 October 2020

This discussion paper from the European ROBUST research project’s Sustainable Food Systems Community of Practice examines the benefits and drawbacks of implementing a local food policy for public food procurement in Monmouthshire, Wales. It assesses what “local” means, whether the evidence supports claims for local food’s environmental, health and economic outcomes, and how local food relates to public food procurement.

21 October 2020

In this paper, FCRN member Gesa Biermann uses a survey of German consumers to explore the different meanings and expectations attached to eating at home and eating in restaurants. The study shows that meat-eating is more common in restaurants than at home, for example 59% of flexitarian respondents ate more meat at a restaurant than at home. This is attributed to perceptions of eating meat in restaurants being an opportunity to treat oneself and celebrate special occasions. The paper suggests that to encourage plant-based eating in restaurants, the meaning of plant-based foods must become more aligned with notions of “the good life” (for example, relating to ideas about hospitality, generosity and pleasure).

21 October 2020

This paper uses evidence from 45 developing countries to assess the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security. It finds that the least developed countries have primarily suffered from food inflation food inflation (i.e. higher food prices), whereas higher-income developing countries have been more affected by food trade restrictions and currency depreciation.

21 October 2020

This paper finds that targeting ecosystem restoration efforts towards 15% of converted lands (i.e. areas that have been converted away from their natural state to cropland or pasture) could prevent 60% of expected extinctions in mammals, amphibians and birds and sequester 299 Gt CO2. It identifies differing priority areas depending on whether the outcomes are optimised for biodiversity, climate mitigation, cost minimisation or all three.

21 October 2020

This commentary paper, co-authored by FCRN member Jeroen Candel, identifies four challenges that could determine whether the European Union’s Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy is successful. The F2F strategy aims to reform food supply chains in Europe and sets out specific targets on pesticides, fertilisers, organic farming and antimicrobial resistance to be achieved by 2030. 

15 October 2020

UK-based regenerative farming podcast Farmerama Radio has produced a new podcast series called “Who Feeds Us?”, dedicated to the stories of food producers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The first episode in the series, “The hungry gap”, covers localised food provision in the early stages of the pandemic.

15 October 2020

In this blog post, Dan Blaustein-Rejto of US think-tank the Breakthrough Institute explains that agriculture produces half of air pollution in the United States, mostly through ammonia emissions from livestock and fertilisers. He argues that reducing air pollution from farming - for example through storing manure in covered pits and applying fertiliser more efficiently - would be beneficial for both human health and climate mitigation.

15 October 2020

Members of the UK’s parliament have rejected amendments to the Agriculture Bill that were intended to ensure that food imported to the UK after 1 January 2021 meets domestic standards. Ministers are concerned that the amendments could prevent post-Brexit trade deals from being negotiated. Campaigners are concerned that, without the amendments, food imports could be lower quality and be linked to poorer animal welfare.

15 October 2020

In this book (published 21 October 2020), farmer and social scientist Chris Smaje argues that a localised food system built around small-scale farming offers a sustainable, resilient solution to climate change and ecological crises.

15 October 2020

This report from Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock, a UK alliance of livestock researchers, quantifies emissions from UK livestock production and assesses what it would take for the sector to align with the UK’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

15 October 2020

This report from sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future presents findings from a pilot project with ten US school districts and food manufacturers, which aimed to increase consumption of plant-based food options by high school students. 

15 October 2020

This short and highly readable paper argues that “creative imagination” and positive stories about the future are necessary for generating solutions, in contrast to “purely technocratic” approaches, which fail to motivate people. It sketches out three possible scenarios for biodiversity and food production in the year 2050, noting that none are inevitable.

15 October 2020

This paper finds that a global shift to vegan diets by 2050 could allow sequestration of 332–547 GtCO2 - equivalent to or greater than the remaining emissions budget for having a 66% of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C. Meat reductions in line with the EAT-Lancet Commission’s recommendations could also lead to significant carbon sequestration.

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