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.

15 October 2013

Resilience is currently at the centre of the development agenda and many states say they have resilience policies. But SIANI stresses that initiatives are often criticised for being too vague and lacking in real understanding of what resilience is and how to act to ensure it in crisis situations. This SIANI Policy brief outlines some key concepts of socio-ecological resilience and illustrates them using three case study examples from Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Kenya.  It concludes with some key recommendations for policy makers and practitioners on how to build resilient systems.

15 October 2013

The UK based organization WRAP (Waste Reduction Action Plan) has released a new report which concludes that £6.9 billion worth of food, drink and packaging waste occurs in the grocery retail supply chain. The report identifies where in the sector the waste arises, what the waste is, and how it is managed. It also concludes that the waste totals 7% of the value of food and drink sales to households and argues that if the money was instead used for increasing exports or investment it would both help individual businesses and the economy to grow.

15 October 2013

In this study, researchers contrast values and psychological associations and underpinnings of vegetarianism across cultural contexts.  The paper focuses on different perceptions among vegetarians and omnivores with regards to the impact of their daily food choices on the environment and animal welfare, universalistic motives and beliefs that eating meat is polluting. The study analyzes vegetarianism in USA and India and concludes that in USA the primary concerns are universalism, animal and environmental welfare while in India purity, pollution, authority, and tradition are primary concerns.

15 October 2013

This paper explores how far changes in consumers’ diets can lead to reductions in food related GHG emissions. While previous studies have looked at the relative mitigation impact of switching to vegetarian and vegan diets, this paper estimates the contribution that the average UK diet makes to GHG emissions. It does so by combining the GHG emissions from 66 different food categories with self-reported dietary information. The average GHG impact that the authors arrive at is 8.8 kg CO2 eq per person – including both food eaten and the embedded emissions in food wasted (post-purchase).

7 October 2013

This book discusses the implications of the financial credit crunch for consumers and food spending. The authors argue that the credit crunch is having an impact not only on short term food prices but also on the sustainability of the food system.  The economic changes we experience now are said to have a bearing on our ability to manage the environmental credit crunch that looms. The authors conclude that a significant and positive difference could be made by changing some of the ways in which we procure, prepare, and consume our food.

7 October 2013

A new centre has been set up in the UK, which aims to reduce the energy used across food production, taking a whole system approach. The RCUK Centre for Sustainable Energy Use in Food Chains (CSEF) will examine where and how to make savings in food production:  its research outputs are intended to support energy efficiency policy and contribute to cutting carbon use and GHG emissions. One of its primary research themes is the simulation of energy and resource flows in the food chain, from manufacture and transport of food through to the energetic requirements of refrigeration in supermarkets.

7 October 2013

This report from Global Food Security programme (GFS) entitled ‘Food waste within global food systems’ discusses how reduction of losses and waste throughout the entire food system can contribute to achieving global food security. It provides an independent assessment of the issues around food waste in developing and developed countries and suggests a number of potential future research priorities across the food supply chain.

7 October 2013

This Oxfam report highlights the risks of land grabs or conflicts over land that could be taking place within the supply chains of some of the largest food and beverage companies. Oxfam argues that poor communities across the globe are in dispute or even being kicked off their land, without consultation or compensation, to make way for huge sugar plantations.

26 September 2013

This is the first time that Korean foods are listed in the Ark of Taste, an international slow-food catalogue showing foods that are in danger of extinction.  The new foods include seasoned beans, dwarf wheat, wild fowl, Hanson Lily and beef from cows raised on medicinal herbs.   The listing is part of an attempt to highlight the risk of extinction of these foods and encourage people to protect them.

26 September 2013

With an anticipated expansion in demand for food in urban areas due to the world’s growing urban population, urban agricultural innovations are portrayed in this article as possible solutions. Aeroponic farming systems are one example: these systems allow for clean, efficient, and rapid food production. The crops, which protected from seasonal changes in weather, can be planted and harvested year round without interruption and without contamination from soil, pesticides, and residues. Because aeroponic growing environments are clean and sterile, the chances of spreading plant disease and infection are less common than in soil-based systems.

26 September 2013

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is the process of energy production through the production of biogas from agricultural and other organic waste. This book provides a broad introduction to AD and its potential to turn agricultural crops or crop residues, animal and other organic waste, into biomethane.

26 September 2013

This annual report from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) focuses on the use of refrigerants with high global warming potential such as HFCs, in major supermarket chains in the UK and Europe. It investigates the progress made  in shifting towards more climate-friendly alternatives. 

26 September 2013

FAO published a new report in September 2013 with revised estimates for GHG emissions from livestock. The “Tackling Climate Change Through Livestock:  a global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities” report and two accompanying technical reports are long awaited since they include an updated estimate of the livestock sector’s GHG contribution -  putting the figure at a lower 14.5 percent of global human-caused emissions, compared to 18 percent in the previous report from 2006.

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