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.

9 December 2019

The Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) at Coventry University has launched a new podcast series, The Changing Room, which will explore how to cope with social, economic and environmental change. The first episode explores how climate change is affecting our everyday lives. The second episode, which will be released in January 2020, will discuss food justice.

9 December 2019

In this film by research and communications project Agroecology Now! farmers from Lower Dzongu, Sikkim, India discuss the importance of traditional seeds for food, life and culture and their plans to establish a community seed bank to help maintain and revive traditional seeds. Farmers will be able to “borrow” seeds of local varieties from the seed bank, grow them and then return a greater number of seeds to the seed bank.

9 December 2019

This book reframes the debate around water and food security, focusing on the rights of marginalised people instead of only discussing irrigated agriculture.

9 December 2019

This report from Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph tracks changes in food prices in Canada. It finds that prices in some food categories were impacted by environmental events, including an unexpected 5% increase in fish prices due to warming oceans. It also predicts that consumers will put strong pressure on food producers to avoid single-use plastic packaging, and that the Canadian food system is likely to be stressed by climate change, such as through  droughts, forest fires and heavy precipitation.

9 December 2019

This report by Lloyd’s Register (a UK-based provider of professional services for engineering) surveyed 1000 UK shoppers. It finds that one in three shoppers are concerned about food safety, only 19% are very confident that the vegetarian or vegan food they eat does not contain meat, nearly two thirds of people sometimes check the country of origin of food they buy, and 85% of shoppers think it is fairly or very important for supermarkets to source their products ethically and sustainably.

Image: NASA Earth Observatory, Fires along the Rio Xingu, Brazil, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
9 December 2019

This piece examines the data behind forest fires in Brazil, which attracted international attention during the summer of 2019. It concludes that the number of fires in August 2019 was nearly three times higher than in August 2018, and that the extent of deforestation was the highest since 2008, thus refuting the Brazilian government’s claim that August 2019 was “normal” for deforestation. Some contributors to the piece declined to be listed as authors so that they could stay anonymous.

Image: Ian Ransley, Plantains, bananas, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
9 December 2019

This paper studies the impacts of several agricultural development projects (by USAID’s Feed the Future initiative) that aimed to tackle food loss and waste (FLW), finding that the interventions could reduce greenhouse gas emissions per unit of food produced.

Image: feelphotoz, Olio Di Palma, Pixabay, Pixabay Licence
9 December 2019

According to this study of oil palm plantations in Colombia, converting pasture to oil palm plantation is almost carbon neutral, because declines in soil organic carbon are offset by gains in oil palm biomass over a period of several decades. The authors argue that planting oil palm on former pasture land is preferable to converting rainforest to plantations, as regards greenhouse gas emissions.

2 December 2019

According to this article by the New Food Economy, the United States has experienced five E. coli outbreaks in the leafy green supply chain in two years. The latest outbreak, affecting romaine lettuce, originated in Salinas, California. A task force found that a 2018 outbreak was possibly linked to the presence of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) near lettuce farms.

Image: Pierre-Selim Huard, Brandenburg gate in Berlin, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
2 December 2019

Over 10,000 farmers blocked roads in Berlin on 26 November 2019 with a convoy of tractors in protest at regulations that will limit the use of fertiliser (to reduce groundwater pollution) and the weedkiller glyphosate (to protect insect populations). Farmers say that the measures will threaten their livelihoods and are also protesting against the perception that farmers are to blame for the climate crisis.

2 December 2019

In this blog post, Samuel Smith of international sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future sets out research he intends to conduct on how regenerative agriculture is understood, the strategies that could be used to scale it up, and how the food system would be affected by widespread conversion to regenerative agriculture.

2 December 2019

This book offers case studies and discussions of how urban food systems are governed. It discusses both the Global North and South. Topics include cultural heritage preservation, food sovereignty, entrepreneurship and land-use conflicts.

2 December 2019

This book, originally published as a special issue of Water International, explores how the concept of “virtual water” is relevant to agriculture, trade and sustainability.

2 December 2019

This book gives a holistic overview of both the impacts of climate change on agriculture and the contribution of agriculture to climate change, describes how to predict these interactions, and offers strategies for “climate-smart agriculture”.

2 December 2019

According to a survey by UK NGO Eating Better, 63% of 11 to 18 year olds in the UK see the environment and climate change as the top concern for the UK at the moment. While most do not want to change their levels of meat consumption, 29% of those who do eat meat would like to reduce their consumption.

2 December 2019

This report by the Environmental Investigation Agency and NGO Greenpeace studies how UK supermarkets have taken action on plastic packaging. It finds that overall plastic packaging used by UK supermarkets has risen by 2% between 2017 and 2018, mainly driven by sales of branded products. Waitrose and Morrisons have made the most progress in reducing plastic packaging.

Image: Shimane Prefecture, Shimane Prefecture Lake Shinji, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
2 December 2019

This paper finds that neonicotinoid use in rice paddies surrounding Lake Shinji in Japan was followed by a collapse in the fishery yields of smelt and eel, likely due to neonicotinoids reducing the abundance of zooplankton on which smelt and eels feed. The paper suggests that similar fishery yields decreases in lake across Japan could be linked to neonicotinoid use.

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