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.

Image: Max Pixel, Plate knife cover, CC0 Public Domain
8 May 2019

One in five adults in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland experienced some level of food insecurity in 2016, according to this paper, with people who are younger, non-white, less educated, disabled, unemployed or low-income being more likely to experience food insecurity. Low-income adults had a 28% probability of being food-insecure in 2004, which by 2016 had risen to 46%.

Image: Orientierungslust, Palm oil palm, Pixabay, Pixabay licence
8 May 2019

The impacts of palm oil plantations on human wellbeing depend on context and are neither uniformly negative nor positive, finds this study of villages in Indonesia. Oil palm plantations are more likely to lead to improved basic, physical and financial well-being in villages with relatively low existing forest cover and where most people make a living by producing goods for market, compared to villages with higher forest cover and where most people have subsistence-based livelihoods.

29 April 2019

This film from the RSA Food, Farming & Countryside Commission explores issues in low income rural Britain. Interviewees include a farmer who has considered using a food bank, a student nurse who waited many years to be able to afford a house in her home village, and a cook who lives in a rural estate with poor access to services such as public transport.

29 April 2019

This podcast, “Shrinking agriculture's footprint”, is part of the Breakthrough Dialogues series from California-based environmental research centre The Breakthrough Institute. The episode explores which farming practices are most sustainable and discusses land sharing versus land sparing.

29 April 2019

This book by Darrin Qualman argues that, to avoid the collapse of civilisation, the global economy must reshape its material and energy flows away from linear, extractive patterns towards a circular model. The book includes a chapter on food production.

29 April 2019

This report from the UK think tank Food Foundation summarises workshops held with over 300 schoolchildren from across the UK to discuss their understanding of and experiences with food insecurity and food poverty.

29 April 2019

Free-range eggs in the Agbogbloshie slum in Ghana are contaminated with some of the highest levels ever measured (in eggs) of certain toxic substances due to the illegal dumping of electronic waste from Europe, according to this report from Swedish non-profit IPEN and US non-profit Basel Action Network.

29 April 2019

This report from the UK think tank Green Alliance sets out how the UK could bring its land use emissions to net zero. The actions proposed include ecosystem restoration, planting new areas of woodland, capturing carbon in soils, and reducing demand for meat and dairy.

Image: Lorrie Graham/AusAID, The site of secondary mining of Phosphate rock in Nauru, 2007, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
29 April 2019

This paper maps the potential for different subnational, national, or regional areas to reduce their agricultural dependence on imported phosphorus fertiliser by recycling manure or urban waste (including both human excreta and household and industrial wastes).

Image: phouavang82, Bacon fry food, Pixabay, Pixabay Licence
29 April 2019

This paper reviews data from the UK Biobank study and finds that higher consumption of red meat and alcohol are associated with a higher risk of colorectal (bowel) cancer, while higher consumption of fibre from bread or breakfast cereals is associated with a lower risk.

Image: Daniel Schwen, Tobacco Hornworm, found in Urbana, Illinois, USA, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
29 April 2019

This paper explores the possibility of producing food by growing insect cells in the laboratory using cell culture techniques. It suggests that it may be easier to overcome certain technical challenges to cell culture by using insect cells rather than (say) beef, pork or chicken cells.

Image: kschneider2991, Money tower coins, Pixabay, Pixabay licence
29 April 2019

Decoupling of carbon emissions from economic growth is unlikely to happen quickly enough to meet the Paris climate targets of limiting warming to 1.5°C or 2°C, according to this paper. Furthermore, both historical trends and model-based projections suggest there is no evidence that resource use and economic growth can be absolutely decoupled at the global scale in the context of continued economic growth.

Image: NakNakNak, Rio De Janeiro Brazil Rainforest, Pixabay, Pixabay licence
29 April 2019

An open letter co-signed by over 600 European scientists and two Brazilian Indigenous organisations (which together represent 300 Brazilian Indigenous groups) calls for the European Union to make its trade negotiations with Brazil conditional on respecting Indigenous rights, protecting forests and defining strict social and environmental criteria for traded commodities such as iron and beef.

24 April 2019

The Swedish EAT Forum has produced a series of podcasts that examine how the findings of the EAT-Lancet report on healthy diets from sustainable food systems can be translated into action.

Image: Shpernik088, Vegan burger, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
24 April 2019

The European parliament’s agriculture committee has approved a ban on using words such as ‘burger’, ‘sausage’, ‘steak’ or ‘escalope’ to name vegetarian food products. The proposal will not become law unless approved by the full parliament, which will not vote on the issue until after May 2019’s elections.

24 April 2019

According to the BMJ (British Medical Journal), the World Health Organisation pulled out of sponsoring a launch event for the EAT-Lancet report on healthy and sustainable diets after Gian Lorenzo Cornado, Italy’s ambassador to the United Nations, questioned the health and economic impacts of the report’s largely plant-based diet recommendations.

24 April 2019

This book by David McClements discusses scientific and technological advances (such as gene editing, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence) in the food system, and outlines both potential benefits to people and the environment and concerns over how the technologies might be used.

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