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.

7 January 2013

A study regarding the efficiency of beetle larvae (mealworms) as a potential protein source was published in the journal PLOS ONE by researchers at the University of Wageningen in Netherlands. The researchers compared the environmental impact of meat production on a mealworm farm to traditional animal farms using three parameters: land usage, energy needs, and greenhouse gas emissions. From the start of the process to the point that the meat left the farm, they found that mealworms scored better than the other foods. Per unit of edible protein produced, mealworm farms required less land and similar amounts of energy.

18 December 2012

This new book addresses how the collective pooling and management of shared plant genetic resources for food and agriculture can be supported through laws regulating access to genetic resources and the sharing of benefits arising from their use. 

18 December 2012

In this systematic review published in the journal PLOS Medicine, researchers investigated the association between food pricing strategies and food consumption and non-communicable diseases by analyzing the results of published mathematical modeling studies of food pricing interventions.

11 December 2012

A new book by John Webster, Professor Emeritus at the University of Bristol, seeks to identify and explain the causes and contributors to current problems in animal husbandry, especially those related to 'factory farming', and advance arguments that may contribute to its successful re-orientation. 

11 December 2012

The "Humankind" series on National Public Radio has produced a series of stories about the interrelatedness of the foods we eat and climate change.

11 December 2012

The Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Environment Agency (EEA) have produced a brochure outlining a participatory-based scenario-building approach that is being used to help explore the complex and uncertain impacts stemming from climate change. 

11 December 2012

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) has launched the “Big Facts” website, a set of 30 facts integrating research on topics that include food demand, agricultural emissions, climate impacts, adaptation, and mitigation. 

26 November 2012

A new book by Dr. Adam Corner, entitled Promoting Sustainable Behavior: A Practical Guide To What Works, explores individual and societal behaviors linked to climate change and offers recommendations on how to achieve a sustainable campaign that creates a lasting change in behaviour.

26 November 2012

Russian authorities are considering a proposal put forward by the National Union of Consumers’ Rights Protection, which would tax high-fat products, as well as the use of antibiotics in meat production. The tax rate proposed is 10-20% for meat and dairy products with high cholesterol content. Russian authorities have reacted favourably to the proposed initiative, but there is fear that immediate adoption of the initiative could push meat prices to unpredictable levels, driving some manufacturers out of business.

26 November 2012

The journal Ecological Economics has devoted an issue to the concept of degrowth. Degrowth is a political, economic, and social movement based on ecological economics, anti-consumerist, and anti-capitalist ideas. Degrowth thinkers and activists advocate for the downscaling of production and consumption, arguing thatoverconsumption lies at the root of long-term environmental issues and social inequalities.

26 November 2012

Euractiv.com has posted an article detailing how some EU national governments and lawmakers are pushing to weaken green farming proposals in the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). With the economic crisis still lingering, there is more focus on boosting farm production to create jobs, and to address concerns about tighter food supplies and higher prices driven by worldwide droughts.

26 November 2012

Continuing with this theme, EurActiv.com posted an article, “EU’s food imports pose ‘tricky balance’ for hungry Africans,” which discusses the difficulty of creating economic development and food security throughout Africa. A drought that hit East Africa in 2011 exposed this difficulty as European markets had plentiful supplies of African agricultural exports. In fact, the EU imports 40% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s agricultural exports. 

19 November 2012

A new book by Anders Wijkman and Johan Rockström argues that we are in deep denial about the magnitude of the global environmental challenges and resource constraints facing the world. The authors argue that regardless of whether governments respond to the economic crisis through additional stimulus packages or reduced government spending, environmental and resource constraints will remain.

19 November 2012

Scientists from the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and University of California, Berkeley have demonstrated that plants and soils could release large amounts of carbon dioxide as global climate warms. This finding contrasts with the expectation that plants and soils will absorb carbon dioxide and is important because that additional carbon release from land surface could be a potent positive feedback that exacerbates climate warming.

19 November 2012

The journal Oxford Review of Economic Policy features a number of articles devoted to the topic of biodiversity policy and economics in its Spring 2012 edition.

19 November 2012

This paper, produced by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), explores the opportunities for climate change mitigation in the agricultural sector through the use of carbon markets. Carbon markets have not yet brought the technical potential for agricultural mitigation to fruition due to constraints on both the demand and supply side in terms of limited market opportunities and constraints to project implementation.

19 November 2012

Scientists at Technische Universität München (TUM) have come up with a new land development concept tailored to medium-sized farms in South America that sees farmers transitioning from large-scale monoculture to more diverse crop mixtures spread over smaller plots interspersed with wooded areas. Their study, published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, evaluated the economic viability of this model, based on a typical medium-sized agricultural holding, and found that although costs are higher in the beginning as a result of reforestation, the combination of woodland management and smaller plots of land pays off in the long term.

19 November 2012

This policy note by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) calls for governments to prioritize policies and actions and invest substantially in efforts to address the needs of their malnourished populations. Despite the importance of adequate nutrition for economic and social development, few countries have given nutrition issues high priority in national policy-making processes and resultant policies. This policy note reviews individual developing countries’ nutrition policies, highlights examples of countries that have successfully included nutrition in their development agendas, and concludes by outlining the rationale for making malnutrition reduction a policy priority, together with policy recommendations. 

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