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.

12 March 2014

This Local food grants report by University of Gloucestershire’s Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) assesses the benefits created by the Local Food Programme using a Social Return on Investment (SROI) approach. The SROI approach was developed from social accounting and cost-benefit analysis. The outcome assessment is based on a ratio of benefit-to-investment calculation including social, environmental and economic values.

12 March 2014

The Nordic countries collaborate in setting guidelines for dietary composition and recommended intakes of nutrients. Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2012 is their 5th and latest publication. The recommendations emphasize food patterns and nutrient intakes that, in combination with sufficient and varied physical activity, are optimal for development and function of the body and that contribute to a reduced risk of certain diet-associated diseases.

12 March 2014

This new report from the from China-based FORHEAD Working Group on Food Safety/SSRC discuss food safety issues in China. The report examines what is known from the natural, medical and social sciences about food safety in China and about policy and public responses. It aims to provide the basis for more effective use of existing knowledge and to inform a more integrated and problem-oriented research agenda.

12 March 2014

This research shows that it is possible to modify plant seeds to produce omega 3 fatty acids. Through a process of  genetic modification,  the research modifies the plant Camelina sativa  (false flax) with genes from microalgae – the main producers of the omega 3 fatty acids DHA  and  EPA.  The oil extracted from the seeds can then be used as a more sustainable alternative to fish oils.

12 March 2014

This is the first global study to quantify the extent to which global crop diversity has narrowed over time and how and where those changes have occurred.

5 March 2014

The Food Climate Research Network has published a major new report focusing on China’s changing food system.

Appetite for Change provides a detailed and integrative analysis of the dramatic changes in China’s food system over the last 35 years, and explores the linkages among the environmental, health, economic and cultural trends that are emerging.  

27 February 2014

The aim of the  THE SMART FOOD GRID project is to improve the efficiency of local food distribution within Amsterdam.  The project grew out of research which analysed the flow of local food in and around the city. This found that while there was a great amount of fresh and processed food being brought into the city, a  link was not being made between this food and the general urban public.  SMARTGRID therefore aims to  link producers with consumers through the use of a smart-phone. Users can scan a QR code on a banner, order local products and get them delivered through sustainable transport modes to their house, office or other location.

27 February 2014

CONSENSUS has been awarded funding by the Irish EPA to further its innovative research on sustainable consumption. CONSENSUS is the first large-scale, all-island research project on sustainable consumption in Irish households. The research will involve In-Home Living Labs which mean that households will be testing novel solutions for more sustainable food practices around food purchasing, cooking, waste management and washing. For example, householders will experiment with new-to-market composting tools, smart food apps, and grow-your-own kits. Researchers will also conduct ethnographic research to evaluate how these interventions affect food practices, advancing knowledge on practice-oriented approaches to behaviour change and identifying R&D, policy and educational initiatives.

27 February 2014

A new policy report from the Fairtrade foundation, Britain’s Bruising Banana Wars: Why cheap bananas threaten farmers’ futures looks at how price pressures in many banana producing countries have led to job losses, the casualisation of labour and the marginalising of smallholder producers. These in turn negatively affects wages, access to services and the environmental sustainability of banana production.

27 February 2014

Food Security in a World of Natural Resource Scarcity: The Role of Agricultural Technologies examines the role of agricultural practices and technologies in helping farmers improve the sustainability of maize, rice, and wheat production. We have previously highlighted an earlier IFPRI policy brief in this newsletter on the same topic.

27 February 2014

A recent study from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research finds that the UK is failing to make the most of its abundant biomass potential. The researchers found that almost half, up to 44%, of the UK's energy could be produced within the country by using biomass sources, including household waste, agricultural residues and home-grown biofuels. The UK currently produces about half of the food it consumes, and is ~60% ‘self-sufficient’. Although complete food self-sufficiency is not the current goal, the researchers stress that improved food system adaptive capacity is important if the UK is to cope with future stresses in the food system.

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