Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Governance and policy

Policy on food incorporates a wide range of direct legislation on, for example, food safety regulation, farming methods, chemical use, production techniques and packaging. Governance of the food system takes place at multiple levels from the international (e.g. international trade agreements) through to the local (e.g. local authority planning policies influencing the siting of food businesses). Governance can encompass both 'hard' and ‘soft’ measures. The former commonly refers to legislation involving mandatory standards, caps, or bans, and economic instruments such as taxes and subsidies. 'Softer' approaches are usually taken to include voluntary standards, encouragement of voluntary industry action, and public education campaigns. In addition to the state, non-state actors including corporations and nongovernmental organisations also make policies that influence the future direction of the food system. To achieve progress towards a more sustainable food system it is essential to have effective and joined up governance of the food system at multiple levels, and across geographic borders and sectors.

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: 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

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.

25 November 2019

This book sets out the importance of assessing food security policies, such as to address failures of past food policies, and gives practical guidance on how to use evidence to analyse policies.

25 November 2019

This report from the World Resources Institute outlines ten “scaling interventions” that could increase both the rate and geographic spread of initiatives to cut food loss and food waste, to support a target of halving worldwide food loss and waste by 2030. 

19 November 2019

This report from charitable coalition End Hunger UK sets out the arguments for addressing the root causes of hunger in the UK from seven perspectives: morality, child welfare, health, secure income, human rights, politics and public opinion.

19 November 2019

This guidance note from the UK’s Food Research Collaboration sets out how “food hubs” - organisations that connect food growers directly to customers - can help to revitalise local economies. It is aimed at food entrepreneurs, funders, not-for-profit workers and policymakers. 

19 November 2019

This report from UK NGO Sustain is a guide for both local and national policymakers. It argues that controlling hot food takeaway outlets (e.g. fish and chip shops, kebab shops, burger bars) through planning laws, e.g. by limiting the number of outlets near schools, can help to promote public health. 

11 November 2019

This book explores different indicators that are used to assess the sustainability of food systems and how projects using these metrics can affect communities and policies.

11 November 2019

The 2019 edition of The State of Food and Agriculture report from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations focuses on actions to reduce food loss and food waste. It sets out guidance for how policymakers can tailor food waste initiatives to suit their policy aims.

4 November 2019

This op-ed by FCRN member Mia MacDonald and Judy Bankman, both of US think tank Brighter Green, argues that affordable, accessible, sustainable and healthy diets for everyone can only be achieved with the commitment of everyone, including policymakers, industry influencers, city planners, local business owners and consumers.

29 October 2019

This policy brief from the US non-profit think tank Peterson Institute for International Economics argues that the Amazon rainforest could reach a “tipping point” as soon as 2021, where deforestation means that the forest no longer generates enough rain to support itself and the forest begins to release large amounts of carbon instead of storing it.

22 October 2019

This report from the Food Ethics Council sets out how UK food businesses and government could learn from the Danish food system. Although Denmark and the UK have similarities, e.g. in climate, Denmark ranked 7th in the 2018 Food Sustainability Index while the UK ranked 24th. 

22 October 2019

This report from UK NGO alliance Sustain aims to help policymakers at the city level understand the role of food, farming and land use in policies designed to respond to climate change and protect nature. 

22 October 2019

This report by the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London sets out how a “Food in All Policies” approach to food systems challenges can meet goals not only relating to food but also relating to education, social inclusion, livelihoods and fair economic development. 

Image: Hafiz Issadeen, Fisherfolk - Beruwala, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
22 October 2019

This commentary article sets out five priorities for developing the so-called “blue economy” (i.e. ocean-based activities such as fishing, aquaculture, tourism, seabed mining and shipping) in a way that is both environmentally sustainable and socially equitable. The article notes that human activities are already negatively affecting ocean ecosystems and that future economic development of the oceans may have further, sometimes poorly understood, impacts on both the environment and people.

18 September 2019

FoodPrint, a project run by GRACE Communications Foundation, has produced an overview of the laws and regulations affecting food in the United States, including details of how food policy is made at different levels of government (federal, state and local). 

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