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.

20 March 2019

This report by US non-profit Centre for International Environmental Law reviews research on the human health impacts of plastics throughout their lifecycle, including extraction of fossil fuels, refining and production, consumer use, waste management, fragmenting and microplastics and accumulation of plastics in food chains.

20 March 2019

This report by international non-profit Forum for the Future outlines some key trends in sustainability that the authors expect will be important over the next decade. The report also aims to equip decision-makers with a greater ability to influence systems at the scale necessary to tackle global challenges.

20 March 2019

This report from the Japanese Institute for Global Environmental Strategies shows how lifestyles would have to change in industrialised countries and some industrialising countries in order to meet climate change targets.

20 March 2019

This report from the UK’s Sustainable Restaurant Association reviews the current state of sustainability in the UK food service sector. The three main challenges it identifies are reducing the amount of meat on menus, reducing food waste, and using less single-use plastic packaging.

Image: Kevin Dooley, Rain cloud over Phoenix, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
20 March 2019

This paper uses climate models to estimate that average precipitation across many crop production areas will change by more than natural variability throughout the 21st century. Changes are seen even if emissions are relatively low, but meeting the Paris climate goals could reduce the extent of cropland that is affected.

Image: AEPF, Olive tree Italy, Pixabay, Pixabay Licence
13 March 2019

Extreme weather events such as frosts, heavy rains and droughts are the main drivers of lower olive yields in Italy, according to Professor Riccardo Valentini of the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Climate Change. Italy has experienced a 57% drop in olive oil production in 2018.

13 March 2019

This book by Mike Berners-Lee aims to provide a big-picture overview of how to solve the many environmental issues the world is facing now, including both systemic and personal paths of action. It is aimed at a wide audience including both policymakers and the general public. Chapter 2 is about food.

13 March 2019

Over half a million acres of irrigated farmland may have to be permanently taken out of agricultural use in the San Joaquin valley in California in order to conserve groundwater, according to this report by the non-profit Public Policy Institute of California. The report suggests using the land for generating solar energy, restoring ecosystems or managing flood risk by restoring floodplains.

13 March 2019

This report from the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University traces the work done on agroecology by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and suggests how civil society, academics and other actors can encourage and strengthen this work.

13 March 2019

The UK Government has released a summary of the likely impacts on business and trade if the UK leaves the European Union without a withdrawal agreement on 29 March 2019 (i.e. a ‘no deal’ Brexit). Several items are relevant to the food system. See also the draft of temporary rates of customs duty on imports that will apply to different goods in the event of a no deal Brexit.

12 March 2019

In this latest instalment of the Food Brexit Briefings series by the UK’s Food Research Collaboration, the authors argue that the UK’s upcoming departure from the European Union presents an opportunity for Wales to reform its food and farming system, making use of both grassroots food initiatives and new legislation.

Image: Pixnio, Bee tree flower, Public domain
12 March 2019

This study surveys declining pollinator populations and the threat to agricultural production this poses at a time when (the paper argues) higher yields and farm efficiencies are needed. It outlines how woody habitats such as trees and hedgerows can be used on agricultural land to aid conservation of pollinators.

Image: dany13, DSC00234/Brasil/Pantanal/ Cowboys Herding Zebu Cattle on Miranda, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
12 March 2019

This paper analyses how different agriculture and forestry activities affect biodiversity and carbon sequestration. In 2011, the top driver of losses to bird species richness was cattle production, while the greatest driver of losses to net carbon sequestration (relative to sequestration if natural vegetation were allowed to grow) was forestry.

Image: Romaniamissions, Fishing boats Spain, Pixabay, Pixabay Licence
12 March 2019

This paper retrospectively models the impacts of ocean warming on the productivity of 235 fish populations around the world representing around one third of reported global catch. It uses a temperature-dependent population model to estimate that the overall maximum sustainable yield of the fish populations dropped by 4.1% between 1930 and 2010.

Image: Phil Manker, Swirling fish schools, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
12 March 2019

This paper models the impacts that the Paris Agreement on climate change would have on seafood production. It finds that three quarters of maritime countries would benefit from the Agreement’s implementation.

Image: Nacho Anazawa, Kadena Top 3 delivered donations to neighborhood friends, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain
4 March 2019

The UK’s Department for Work and Pensions will introduce a new measure of food insecurity, reports the Guardian. The new measure will be based on ten questions about food purchase and consumption patterns in the annual Family Resources Survey, which surveys around 20,000 households each year.

4 March 2019

This book discusses resilience in agriculture, using economic, ecological and sociological perspectives. Topics covered include biodiversity, ecosystem services, land sparing versus land sharing, and sustainable intensification.

Pages